African migrants needed in Europe to help ‘ageing population’, says EU ambassador
Africans migrating to Europe could rescue nations from problems associated with its “ageing population”, a European Union (EU) ambassador to Nigeria has claimed.
Legal channels allowing men and women from the continent to travel to the EU should be welcomed as a “good” thing and be opened up, Michel Arrion said.
Ambassador Arrion said Europe “must support properly-regulated immigration from Africa”.
The head of the EU’s delegation to Nigeria followed up his comments, taking about the rapid birth rate in West Africa.
Tweets from Dr Joe Abah, director general at the country’s Bureau of Public Service Reforms, revealed the comments on social media.
"There were more babies born in Nigeria in 2016 than in the entire European Union put together,” Mr Abah reported him as saying.
His claims appear to row back on statements made in 2016 when he called on Nigerian nurses to return to their homeland after studying in Europe.
Mr Arrion also admitted Nigerians are often being smuggled into the EU.
“Nigerian nationals are the most numerous among non-European victims of trafficking in human beings and they are also the most numerous among traffickers,” he said in 2016.
In 2015, Mr Arrion said the EU needed migration - and legal channels should be made easier.
He said the continent needs “fresh blood”.
According to Eurostat the ageing population in Europe will become a “burden” on society soon.
“Consistently low birth rates and higher life expectancy are transforming the shape of the EU-28’s age pyramid,” a report states.
“As a result, the proportion of people of working age in the EU-28 is shrinking while the relative number of those retired is expanding.
“The share of older persons in the total population will increase significantly in the coming decades, as a greater proportion of the post-war baby-boom generation reaches retirement.”