Population and human capital are increasingly recognised as key factors for the future of Europe. This module aims to provide a comprehensive review and a detailed analysis of the different public policies that have been implemented in the European Union, both by national and EU authorities, to try to influence the quantity and the quality of their populations. In so doing, this module introduces the concept of an emerging EU policy on population and human capital. The module will show the challenges that demographic changes in Europe pose to EU member states, from pensions to national security, and how national policies are increasingly unsuitable to address these issues. It will present a critical overview of the main policy options available to EU policy makers, their advantages and disadvantages, as well as the factors affecting policy choice.
The key to unlock this module is triple. First, there are a number of policies, ranging from fertility and immigration to education and taxation policies, which affect both the quantity and the quality of a population, and should be analysed together. Secondly, the European Union, and especially the free mobility of people within its borders, makes the concept of an EU population increasingly relevant, undermines the effectiveness of national policies and provides a rationale for EU intervention. Thirdly, the European Union plays an increasing role in population and human capital policies, from the parental leave directive to the common migration and asylum policy or the EU’s education policy.