Editorial: Cold and darkness is lurking

Melting sea ice is creating challenges and opportunities in Greenland (Photo: John Lumen)
December 5th, 2014 6:55 pm| by admin
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In just 14 days from now, the sun will start its return. Christmas trees are being lit and Black Friday started the drive towards higher spending. Lighter times are ahead.

Lighter days, darker years
However, future growth still looks bleak. Southern Europe is fighting debt-to-GDP ratios of double the EU limit of 60 percent.  Denmark is AAA with its ratio at around 50, but the demand in our most important markets is still modest, so any growth in the coming years is not to be expected, although we won’t be crippled by inflation like others.

The challenges are too real, yet most European countries are choosing to cry out loud about refugees and immigration when they really should be concerned about their labor force capacity. 

For every four workers
As things stand, for every four people in work today, there’s one who needs their help, but this will change to two to one by 2050 if nothing is done.  More than half of the 2050 workforce for 2050 has already been born, so even rabbit-like reproduction is not going to be enough.

Today 130,000 expats are working in Denmark. Some 25 percent commute from Sweden and Germany, but the rest are here for good – hopefully.

To maintain the present ratio of four to one, we need to mobilise the present workforce to work more, smarter or longer and be more flexible, but it is clear that we also need between 200 and 300 thousand immigrants. So do most other European 
countries. 

Thinking ahead
The winner in this race will be the country that targets the unemployed of countries with high youth unemployment and high skill levels.  If they have to be integrated, they should come as soon as possible, as we know that the desirable assimilation takes a long time and will probably only be a reality when the first wave has settled and reproduced bright, intelligent and internationally-minded Danes.

As we increasingly accept climate change as something we have to deal with internationally, we hope responsible politicians will also realise the equally important task regarding the labour force. Preparing the nation for an influx of talent and cultural pluralism so that we can get the best – and keep them. Not then – but now.

Dansk Arbejdsgiverforening has calculated that the eastern European workers in Denmark are contributing a net 15,000 kroner per person to the public finances per year and native Danes cost an average 5,000. So it’s good business too, and that at the end of the day will be the convincing argument for a nation of traders. We hope! (ES)

 

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