20th Jun 2019

Europe predicted to lose hugely in world economy

Europe is doomed to become the big loser in world economics during the next 50 years.

Great China (China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) will be the number one player in the world economy by 2050 followed closely by North America (US, Canada and Mexico) while Europe will fall to become a second rank economic power.

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These are the bleak projections of the French research centre, Institut Francais des Relations Internationales (Ifri), presented in the report 'World Trade in the 21st Century', ("Le commerce mondial au XXIe siècle").

By 2050, Europe's share of the world economy will only be 12 per cent against 22 per cent today. Europe will find itself at the same level as the group of 12 oil-producing countries, including Iran, Iraq, Nigeria and Venezuela.

In the same period, North America will just about manage to hold its share in the world economy, falling only from 25 per cent in 2000 to 23 per cent in 2050.

The big winner will be China, which is forecast to increase its share from 18 to 24 percent and by 2050 be the largest player in the world economy.

30 million immigrants to Europe

The 400-page report predicts that Europe will receive some 30 million immigrants in the years 2000-2020 because the fertility rate has dropped dramatically and European industry needs a workforce.

Despite this huge take-in from other parts of the world, the European population is still expected to decline in the years 2000-2050, from 493 million to 434 million. In the same period the population of Greater China is expected to grow from 1282 million to 1472 with the North American group rising from 413 million to 584 million.

Just a century ago Western Europe was a serious world power which had colonised major parts of the globe.

This time, however the other side of the globe will have its turn. By 2050, the economic heavyweight will be the Asian-Pacific region, the French Institute concludes.

The report also predicts that by 2050 Europe will have 30 member states; the 15 current members, the 10 to join in 2004, plus Bulgaria, Romania, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.

It also advises Europe to improve relations with Russia and the Mediterranean countries, including Turkey - which is described as a pivotal country.

Additional summit over top EU jobs looms

It's quicker to elect the pope than to agree on the new EU leadership, quipped the Irish prime minister at the start of the EU summit - which may end only with another summit soon to pick the top jobs.

Tusk wants quick deal on EU top jobs at Thursday summit

EU leaders will be discussing the new EU leadership positions - with France and Germany split over the largest political group's lead candidate. It might take an extra summit for leaders to come up with final names.

EU urges Swiss to move on talks or face sanction

The EU commission tells Switzerland that clarifications to the draft deal are possible - but not renegotiations. The message is clear to 'Brexit' Britain as well: the Swiss model is over, there are no special agreements.

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