"a big bulge makes its way slowly down the snake from the head end to the other end. That's a bit like what's happened to the UK demographically. The baby boom generation - which has changed Britain politically, culturally and economically - is now retiring. That means a large bulge of pensioners with big implications for the generations that come behind them. Other advanced economies face a similar challenge and emerging economies - most notably China - will be dealing with an ageing bulge themselves soon. But in Africa, the bulge is at the other end. A very young generation is about to make its way through the snake."And it's the African bulge that is exercising minds in Europe.
The current migration report of an Austrian intelligence service shows why the time for action is scarce: experts warn that 15 million young adults will be without jobs by the year 2020 in Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Ethiopia and seven other African countries And the masses want to emigrate to Europe.Whilst the Middle East youth bulge is now passing through and will generally decline by 2020, two exceptions; Iraq and the West Bank and Gaza are both expected to rise to 29% by 2020, when Iran's will have fallen to 22%. Both flash points will continue to push migrants into Europe through Turkey and the Russian federal states.
Only utter fools believe that the present policy of the world's navies providing a taxi service from points 3 miles off the North African coast to Europe is sustainable. For that's the range of the boats and the fuel now being used by the smugglers; it's cheaper to buy a VHF to make an SOS call just outside the territorial limit than 100 extra litres of diesel. No ship can ignore a distress call, and a nice NATO frigate will come collect you to take you to Italy.
But to contain the migrants in North Africa or the Middle East will need the active co-operation of Russia, both on the ground and at sea and at the UN Security Council. It may involve taking control of sovereign national territory in North Africa to hold (and feed) millions of migrants.
This is Europe's biggest challenge. And we need Russia as an ally to face it.