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Philippe Fargues is a sociologist and demographer. He is currently the Director of the Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute, the founding Director of the Consortium for Applied Research on International Migration (CARIM) and Director of the Migration Summer School.
Since mid-December 2010, popular uprisings have taken hold in a number of countries across North Africa and the Middle East in what has been dubbed the Arab Spring. Philippe Fargues of the European University Institute discusses the demographic trends underpinning the recent eruption of unrest in the Arab world, and the likely impact of the revolts on migration.
The Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) and Europe appear to be an ideal demographic match: the former has a large supply of young, active workers, and the latter has a shortage of the youthful, skilled or unskilled labor it needs to sustain its economic competitiveness. MENA is the source of 20 million first-generation migrants, half of them now living in another MENA country and most of the rest in Europe. The region also hosts around the same number within its borders. In addition, the size of MENA’s working-age population will continue to rise sharply in the next two decades while the corresponding segment of the population in Europe will soon start to decline.