France

Wouldn’t hire you in a pink fit with that attitude

You have got to hand it to the next generation. Before they’ve been hired, many are already dictating terms to prospective employers.

Despite not proving they’re worth one euro cent of value to a company they are already showing their incapacity to think creatively or show a basic modicum of balanced thought, innovation much less display respect to their future bosses.

What company would openly want to hire graduates who think they know more than the companies they might work for? With so much knowledge, FNF Media is surprised these kids don’t demand a position on the board.

It is wonderful that the self entitled generation have such big tickets on themselves. A Student Manifesto says:

We want to take advantage of our power as students by turning to employers that abide by the demands set out in this manifesto. We affirm that it is possible to live decently without drowning into either overconsumption or utter destitution; that the economic system must be aware of its dependence on environment in order to be sustainable; and that solving environmental issues is key to reducing inequalities and conflict risks.

According to EU Observer,

Over the past 15 months, more than 32,000 students or recent graduates have signed the manifesto, mostly – but not only – in France.

What if the company manufactures envelopes and stationery? Will it violate the manifesto? France has a robust industrial sector. Will Alstom, Thales and Renault be forced to hire inferior graduates? Maybe they’ll need to invest more in AI.

When we boil it all down to gravy we can be dead certain that these kids will demand more regulation to make up for the brainwashing drummed into them by leftist institutions who have not prepared them for the real world.

China and other nations not beholden to these ideological gimmicks must relish the thought that Europe is becoming so hard core with respect to stifling innovation that they’ll be able to snap up distressed assets in France on the cheap. Talk about a future of self inflicted wounds.

What do you think protestors called kindy kids in a nativity play?

One has to wonder what possessed 50 loony leftists to protest a kindergarten nativity play in France and call the kids, “fascists“? One would imagine the kids were frightened by their actions. What bravery to intimidate young children? Grubs.

French newspaper, La Depeche reported the protestors screamed that they were “anti capitalists” and forced the play to be abandoned. One would have thought they knew Jesus Christ wasn’t part of the bourgeoisie.

Another sad day on the world of cancel culture.

An open letter to Peter Fitzsimons

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Dear Peter,

It wasn’t so long ago that Fact Not Fiction Media penned an open letter to your lovely wife Lisa after she suggested to newly elected PM Scott Morrison – the man who won the unwinnable election – that he should pick up the phone to NZ PM Jacinda Ardern if he was ever in doubt about policy positions.

Never mind the election results that showed, not only how he managed to ‘unite’ the LNP after the wilderness of the Turnbull Coalition, but his ability to read the pulse of the voters, especially in Queensland. The rest is history.

Never mind the realities that 570,000 Kiwis (11% of their population) choose to live here vs 39,000 Aussies who live there. Can anyone point to the tidal wave of New Zealanders returning to their homeland to embrace the policies pushed by the high priestess of woke? Thought not. Quelle surprise that Australia already outranked her Wellness Budget even before her superior social media skills caused the press to lavish endless praise without lifting a finger to provide context.

So it is with little surprise to read your dig at the British and Tony Abbott after the resounding landslide won by Boris Johnson this week. We get that you don’t like the former Member for Warringah.

Your remark about “Little Britain” is utterly baseless. Did you see sterling rally on the result? Did you see the positive reaction of UK stocks on the FTSE? Financial markets, as you know, echo economic confidence. Not quite sure what bigger endorsement Boris Johnson could have got?

If you let your olfactory senses go wild at the Avenue Rd Cafe over the aroma of the election, it seems way more Brits side with Mr Abbott by that metric. Plenty of Aussies, including me, relish Brexit as a massive opportunity. We’ll get to that. First things first.

Even if we were to indulge your ‘Little Britain’ theory a little further, which part of not being a part of the EU, which presumably is the basis of your negative comment, will the Poms or Aussies miss out on? What adverse externalities would ensue for Australia?

Australia ends up being a winner from Brexit. We already do as much with the UK in bilateral trade than Germany & France combined. Bilateral trade with the UK is 1/3rd that of the Eurozone based on a population 1/8th the size. A strong UK economy is much better for Aussie businesses per capita. They understand this.

Should Aussies celebrate the fact that poverty levels in the EU have ballooned by a further 30m people since 2006? That is right, c.109.2m people (21.7% of the total EU population) live below the poverty line according to Eurostat. No, it is not due to the entry of so many new EU members, many which joined in 2004. Poverty has been a consequence of grossly incompetent centralised control out of Brussels. Yet where is the media on this? Deathly silent.

Eurozone growth has crawled to a trickle. Pent up uncertainty in the UK will now dissipate as the clear majority won by BoJo will allow the free hand of capitalism to turn the financial spigots on. President Trump will have no hesitation in putting an FTA together. A deal with an economy comprising 25% of world GDP is no bad thing. I’m sure ScoMo will oblige 10 Downing St too. Japan will be lining up to make sure Mitsukoshi can stock Fortnum & Mason teas in Ginza. All will be spiffing. Aussies benefit from a stronger UK. Little Britain?

Maybe Brits felt uneasy signing over more sovereign rights to unelected bureaucrats like former EC President Jean-Claude Juncker who was often found stumbling around drunk? Maybe they saw Juncker threatening to cut off voting rights to the Austrians if they democratically voted in a right-wing eurosceptic president was a tad totalitarian? Did you see that 18,500 Austrians signed a petition to tell the EU to respect their nation-state democracy? Therein lies the point. The EU is all for nation-state democracy as long as it aligns with Brussels. Anything else sees reprisals. A mouth-watering prospect no doubt.

Perhaps we might question why Switzerland voted 126-46 to tear up a 24yr standing invite to join the EU? Lukas Reimann of the Swiss People’s Party, who proposed the bill said:

“It is hardly surprising that the EU looks like an ever less attractive club to join. What, after all, is the appeal of joining a club into which the entire world can apparently move?”

Maybe the British saw through the recent EUP announcement of a ‘climate emergency‘ ahead of the COP25 summit? How much faith can the British have when EU MEPs rejected the following amendment of that legislation by 563 votes to 59:

that climate change is one of the many challenges facing humanity and that all states and stakeholders worldwide must do their utmost to measure it scientifically so that policy, and especially spending is based on observable facts and not on apocalyptic fearmongering or unreliable models; emphasises that there is no scientific consensus on what percentage of climate change is anthropogenic and what percentage is natural

Surely this is not a big ask to demand that any decisions are based on fact, not fiction. Yet the EU is no stranger to ludicrous policies.

Who could forget when the EU legislated to heavily fine companies and hand out jail sentences to bottled water companies that claimed their products rehydrate after a 3-yr study? It is probably this type of brainless stupidity that was a swing factor in encouraging Brits to want to jettison from such insanity. All self-inflicted wounds at the hands of the EU, certainly not because British voters somehow lack intelligence.

Could it be that the EU left the UK, not the other way around? Is it possible that the British were plain fed up with the prospect of having even more EU oversight? The idea that the EU thinks that fixing the problems of the EU are best served by having ever more EU regulations.

If Brexit proved anything, it was the idea that the EU has to reform. Unfortunately, the EU seems willfully blind to look in the mirror and admit that is indeed the problem. Now the UK has a strong mandate to leave, the power of populism will only be emboldened among other member states. The more successful Britain shows itself outside the bloc, the more other countries can have the confidence to leave this utter joke of an institution, a close second only to the buffoonery at the UN.

In closing, there is a touch of irony to know that the media beat-up of Trump’s endorsement of BoJo caused a landslide while Obama’s blessing of ‘remain’ ahead of the referendum caused a resounding defeat. We shouldn’t forget that every candidate poor old celebrity Hugh Grant endorsed lost their seats.

Probably because the average Joe and Joanne are the ones living in the real world.

Perhaps your title should have been, “who wants to cling onto the EU?

All the best,

FNF Media

Greta and her mates look to sue carbon polluters, wait for it…

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…on the grounds they are violating their rights as children! No surprises that the UN is buying into this BS and seeking to twist climate change into a children’s rights issue.

It is quite difficult to imagine what crimes steel makers or coal miners have committed in actual law. Never mind realities.

Interestingly the suit is being filed against five countries – Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey. It seeks to compel those nations to forge binding emissions reductions targets. Why not an Australia or America? Or have the adults guiding these children just selected soft targets because even they know suing others will achieve nothing.

Sadly for these kids they need to recognize that lawsuits can drag on for years and years, hardly the sort of rebellion that will expedite the type of action they demand.

Never have adults in a room been more needed to invite rational debate. At the moment it’s a disruptive classroom and these petulant kids need time in school detention and forced to write “I must learn respect”

CM recommends they learn economics quick smart. No point suing Argentina. Its default risk is so high that there would be precious little to pay out. Best just sue Germany and France where most of Argentina’s sovereign debt owners come from.

Macron talking utter bolloques on the Amazon fires

Jo Nova has done a cracking piece which undermines the hysteria surrounding the Amazon fires and how perfectly it fits in with the G7 summit angle on globalism. She tears shreds off Macron’s ludicrous claims and even more ridiculous antics at the G7. When the world needs to be focused on avoiding recession, these politicians are fixated on petty point-scoring issues where CO2 reduction will rapidly take care of itself if the world economy tanks. The peons will care not one jot about the climate once faced with economic hardship which is likely to be even worse than the Global Financial Crisis.

Jo Nova wrote,

“Global Fire Data shows this year is unequivocally a low fire season in the Amazon. But social media tears and outrage is running at 1000% driven by old photos and fake facts of the Amazon producing “20% of our planet’s oxygen”.

And the media experts reported the house was on fire in the lungs of the world or something to that effect. They didn’t check the data, didn’t ask hard questions.

Based on hyperbolic twitter pics French leader Macron is threatening to cancel a foreign trade deal. The hype serves the purpose of attacking the right-wing Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro in the lead up to a G7 summit this week…

Who’s feeding the twitter flames?

@EmmanuelMacron

The photo he used? It’s a stock photo from Loren McIntyre, a photographer who died in 2003.

Amazon Fires, Global Fire Count, 2019, graph

“US space agency NASA, meanwhile, has said that overall fire activity across the Amazon basin this year has been close to the average compared to the past 15 years.”

Remember when it comes to climate change, NASA are the definitive last word, but when it comes to Amazon fires, they’re just a casual addendum. “No comment”.

Jonathon Watts at The Guardian carefully words the panic. It’s almost as if he is aware of what is going on but not happy to make it too clear. With headlines like these, anyone would think the readers of The Guardian are 14-year-old girls.

Does this happen every year?

Yes, but some areas have suffered far more than usual. In the worst-affected Brazilian state of Amazonas, the peak day this month was 700% higher than the average for the same date over the past 15 years. In other states, the amount of ash and other particulates in August has hit the highest level since 2010.

Is the entire forest ablaze?

No. Satellite monitoring experts say the images of an entire forest ablaze are exaggerated. A great deal of misinformation has been spread by social media, including the use of striking images from previous years’ burning seasons.”

 

Poverty, poverty on the wall, the French aren’t even the worst of all

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Why are we surprised at the yellow vest uprising across France? Poverty/risk of social exclusion across Europe has continued to spiral upwards since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). There were 78mn living below the poverty line in 2007. At last count, Eurostat notes that number was 118mn  (23.5% of the European population). In the Europe 2020 strategy, the plan is to reduce that by 20 million.  37.5mn (7.5%) are living in severe material deprivation (SMD) , up from 32mn in 2007.

The SMD rate represents the proportion of people who cannot afford at least four of the nine following items:

  • having arrears on mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, hire purchase installments or other loan payments;
  • being able to afford one week’s annual holiday away from home;
  • being able to afford a meal with meat, chicken, fish (or vegetarian equivalent) every second day;
  • being able to face unexpected financial expenses;
  • being able to buy a telephone (including mobile phone);
  • being able to buy a colour television;
  • being able to buy a washing machine;
  • being able to buy a car;
  • being able to afford heating to keep the house warm.

The French are merely venting what is happening across the EU. The EU could argue that at 18% poverty, the French should be happy compared to other nation states. Europeans aren’t racist to want a halt to mass economic migration when they are the ones financially struggling as it is. Making economic or compassionate arguments aren’t resonating as they feel the problems first hand.

Is it a surprise that the UK, at 22.2% poverty, wanted out of the EU project to take back sovereign control? Project Fear might be forecasting Armageddon for a No Deal Brexit but being inside the EU has hardly helped lift Brits from under a rock. Why would anyone wish to push for a worse deal that turns the UK into a colony?

Why is anyone surprised that there has been a sustainable shift toward populist political parties across Europe? Austria, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, Sweden, Germany…the list goes on. Even France should not forget that Front National’s Marine LePen got 35% of the vote, twice the level ever achieved. Is is a shock to see her polling above Macron?

The success and growth of EU-skeptic parties across Europe will only get bigger. The mob is unhappy. Macron may have won on a wave of euphoria as a fresh face but he has failed to deliver. He may have suspended the fuel tax hikes, but the people are still on the street in greater numbers. He has merely stirred the hornet’s nest. Perhaps UK PM Theresa May should take a look at the table above and realise that her deal will only cause the UK to rise up. At the moment sanity prevails, and when it comes in the shape of Jeremy Corbyn that is perhaps a sign in itself.

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Oh the irony. The mainstream media’s pin-up poster boy of globalization and its merits has slumped to a 26% popularity rating and rules a capitol in flames. Yet another dud prediction from those know-it-all scribes!

While journalists rarely miss a chance to embrace French President Macron for eviscerating Trump (47% popularity rating (NB Obama was 46% at the same point in his presidency)) for his refusal to sign the Paris Climate Accord, where is the admission that large swathes of French natives seem to agree with the elder statesman?

Let’s not kid ourselves. Setting fire to priceless art galleries, torching police cars and destroying national monuments like the Arc de Triomphe are hardly petty crime issues to be left to a moustache twiddling local police officer on a stroll though the neighborhood twirling a baton.

The press gladly slams Trump as a fool for his stance on global warming. Yet doesn’t Macron look the stupid one if his constituents are lashing out like this over his poorly thought out green schemes?

The irony is that total US emissions fell in 2017 and expected to be broadly flat for 2018. This despite not being tied to a global compact engineered by the biggest pack of self- serving, unelected demagogues on the planet – the U.N. Why are we listening to its environmental body, the IPCC, when it has been exposed numerous times for fraudulent misrepresentation of data and facts such that it has been forced to publicly retract such hysteria. Better to ask for forgiveness or hope the faithful will forget those hiccups, eh?

Why smash the US when those willing to be part of the Paris agreement – China and India – will crank up emissions to 2030 and beyond at much higher levels? The media stays deathly silent. Who are the real villains? Where is the outrage?

Embarrassing for Macron, even several of his first responders are also showing gross displeasure. A group of firefighters being honoured by a Macron official walked off parade in protest to the embarrassment of their captain. Some police removed riot helmets and lowered shields in front of the yellow vests. When a president loses control of state run security forces that is pretty grim.

When will the press admit they got Macron completely wrong? Popularity can only get one so far. Trudeau of Canada shows the same flaws. Utterly out of his depth. Virtue signaling works wonders for the press gallery but less for those that must bear the brunt of what bad policies ultimately create.

In summary, if the most hated political figure on the planet garners 90%+ negative news feeds, how is it a media darling can’t nudge much more than half his popularity? Who is the imbecile?

NATO – 19 nations may hit 2% promise 18 years after committing to do so

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It is a farce. In 2006, NATO Defence Ministers agreed to commit a minimum of 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to defence spending. This guideline, according to NATO,  “principally serves as an indicator of a country’s political will to contribute to the Alliance’s common defence efforts.” In 2017, only 5 of the 28 members outside the US have met the 2% threshold – Greece, Estonia, UK, Romania & Poland in that order. Despite Greece’s economic problems elsewhere, it manages to honour the deal. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said “the majority [not all] of allies now have plans to do so by 2024.” 3 more are expected to hit the target in 2018. So for all the good will in the world, is POTUS wrong to call the other 19 members slackers that ride off the US taxpayer when so many of them are only likely to hit the target 18 years after ‘committing’ to it?

NATO commitment in 2017 can be seen as follows.

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Although all credit to the Europeans and Canadians for getting away with it for so long. Previous US presidents have obviously not concerned themselves with getting a fair deal on mutually agreed commitments. Although in what world would American taxpayers be upset to see the rest of the team pick up the slack?

Naturally the media are getting mileage out of the insensitive bully attacking his supposed allies. In fact Stoltenberg said last month on record that, “burden sharing will be a key theme of our summit next month, and I expect all allies to continue their efforts.” He reiterated that to Trump yesterday.

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To be brutally honest, how effective can a NATO force truly be if words aren’t put into action? What good is a promise if it is to be honored 18 years later. Imagine if that is the mindset should NATO be forced to act militarily. Would those meeting their obligations feel within their rights to have a bigger say in how NATO should work?

The problem with such a lack of commitment is that over the 12 years where 23 nations have not come close to meeting their obligations, the sum total of the actual defence capabilities suffers for the duration. The US is 67% of total NATO spend and the UK, France  & Germany make up half of the remainder. Yet building a sustainable capability in defence does not come through half measures or poorly thought out procurement. What is missed on many is that over 70% of defence budgets are allocated to soldier pay, housing, healthcare, training and so forth. Procurement and RDT&E get funded out of the balance. Have a skirmish somewhere and yet more money is chewed out of buying new equipment for the sake of logistics (feeding 10,000 troops and servicing hardware in a foreign land). Then there is the subject of terribly managed procurement programs.

Take the French disaster that is the aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle. Despite delays because of problems with a retrofit for radiation shields, the naval brass had to add 14 feet of deck because it realized that the E2-C Hawkeye surveillance planes it purchased couldn’t take off and land in its original build spec. Even now the flight deck is not long enough to conduct simultaneous launch and recovery operations. Even worse the blueprints for the CdG‘s propellers had been lost in a fire, which meant that the ship had to be refitted with hand-me down screws from carriers Foch and Clemenceau which meant her speed was cut from 27 knots to about 24 knots—which was unfortunate since her predecessors steamed at 32 knots. Speed to war zones is kind of important to gain a decisive edge. All of the spend to fix poorly thought out designs cuts from being able to procure other equipment and materiel. Scary to think Australia is buying 12 subs from the French! The problems are already revealing themselves despite not one boat having hit the dry dock.

History tells us many things of how NATO type organisations have failed in the past.The Peloponnesian Wars (431BC – 404BC) highlighted how things can change when allies do not keep up commitments and capabilities aren’t maintained.

Athens required her Delian League member states (consisting of city states mainly along the Ionian Sea) to pay tributes (phoros) to the treasury which was used to build and maintain the naval fleet led by Athens. Yet over time the member states relied too much on the wealth of Athens and over the course of the draining war and the costly campaign to Sicily, failed to honour the ever increasing demands to fund the league with the appropriate level of tributes which drove Athens into massive debt. Defence spending by the Athenians had been cut to around 30-60% of the average over the previous decade. The Delian League’s capabilities dwindled as a result and the Spartans, funded by Persia, took advantage of this and crushed it for good, in the very art of war that Athens was renowned for – the navy.

It is not hard to think of Trump feeling like a modern day Pericles. NATO is the Delian League and its projected enemies chip away all the while members dither over commitments, forcing the US to sustain the limited capability. Like the Athenians, the US has the most powerful navy in the world with a fleet bigger than the next 11 countries combined but even it has pared back the number of ships to less than 10% of what it had in WW2. Enhanced capability is one factor in cutting the surface fleet but even the US DoD realised that the conventionally powered US Kitty Hawk consumed 2% of the entire US military fuel bill annually so it was taken out of service to save money.

One can argue the $750 billion annual defence budget is plentiful but the US realises that power projection is an expensive business. Even Japan understands it can’t stay nestled in the bosom of US stationed forces forever without taking a proactive stance to defend itself. That is the same message to the 19 members NATO failing to pull their weight.

EU – 1.3m abortions, 5m births p.a.

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Eurostat statistics on abortion reveal that Germany, France, UK, Spain and Italy alone terminate a combined 760,000 fetuses per annum. Across the EU-28 there are 1.25mn terminations. Without getting into a debate on abortion rights, the pure statistical number points to 20.4% of fetuses never make it out of the womb alive. Every. Single. Year. At that rate over 10 years that is 12.5 mn children that could have added to EU population sustainability do not occur but the EU seems to think embarking on mass migration is the only solution to plug the gap. Is it? Ironically child support is one area the EU is happy to cede control to individual Member States.

The fertility rate across the EU-28 is now 1.58 children per woman, flat for the last decade and down from 2.9 in 1964. Demographers suggest that a fertility rate of 2.1 is required in developed world economies to maintain a constant population (in the absence of any migration). The number of live births in the EU-28 peaked in 1964 at 7.8 million. In 2017 this had fallen to 5 million. There was a brief period (2003-2008) when live births in the EU-28 started to rise again, returning to 5.5 million by 2008 but the GFC sent it down again – as economic hardship tends to cause a decrease in births. So are economic incentives too low to cause a rebound?

France has the best incentives for children and the highest birth rate inside the EU at 2.0 up from 1.7 in the 1990s. Germany is around 1.4 drifting from 1.6 in the 1990s. The lives for child rearing French are eased by cheap health care, inexpensive preschools – for infants as young as 6 months old – subsidized at-home care and generous maternity leave. Mothers with three children can take a year off of work – and receive a monthly paycheck of up to €1,000 from the government to stay home. Families get subsidized public transportation and rail travel and holiday vouchers.

In order to stop the declining working population over time, imagine if Europe hypothetically put the onus back on consenting couples to take responsibility for their actions and makes abortions harder to access without compulsory consultation over options? Why not graphically show the entire process to get some sense of reality for both parties? You can gross yourself on this link.

Perhaps, in today’s electronic world, automatically deducting child support from fathers that run from responsibility might make sense? Why should the state pay for others’ lack of accountability? Even if the child is placed in foster care, why not wire child support to foster parents indirectly via the Ministry in charge of its administration? The population crisis is not going away in Europe. Why not provide more incentives to married/same-household couples?

Mathematically speaking the numbers are huge. Imagine if the million-plus fetuses every year had a vote to be raised with foster parents as opposed to being terminated, what they would choose? Consider the €23bn Merkel has spent on mainly economic migrants in the last 2 years being put toward preventing 200,000 abortions in Germany over that period? €115,000 to avert each one might have been better spent. That is a huge sum of money period.

CM is not advocating control over the womb but surely transparency in policy over individual responsibility is not a bad thing with respect to many issues, not just abortion. What level of economic incentives are required to prevent some couples/women choosing to terminate? Surely that plays a part in deciding to terminate. Consultation services with respect to the subject don’t seem too commonplace or at least structured in such a way as to prevent them.

According to Eurostat, since 1964 the divorce rate in EU-28 equivalents has doubled and the marriage rate has halved. For every eight marriages in 1964 there was one divorce, now there is one divorce for every two marriages.

The proportion of births outside of marriage now stands at 40%, from 27% in 2000 to less than 7% in 1964. 8.8 % of the EU-28 population aged 20+ lived in a consensual union (de-facto). In Japan the number of births out of wedlock is 25% according to the MHLW. The dynamics of the traditional nuclear family are fading.

51% of the Swedish population is now single household. 51%! While some is attributed to an aging population, 19 of the EU-28 members has a single household ratio of over 30%. 12 over 35%. By way of comparison, Japan’s single household ratio stands at 34.6% from 27.6% in 2000.

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To further analyse the new ways of living together and to complement the legal aspect, statistics on consensual unions, which take into account those with a ‘marriage-like’ relationship with each other, and are not married to or in a registered partnership with each other, can also be analysed.  Sweden (18.3 %) has the highest rate followed by Estonia (16.4 %), France (14.3 %) and the lowest in Greece (1.7 %), Poland (2.1 %), Malta (2.5 %) and Croatia (2.9 %).

Is employment a factor?  It is mixed. Eurostat reported in Germany, the fertility of non-employed women has increased and that of employed women decreased, while in Spain, the opposite occurred; in Greece, the total fertility rate (TFR) of non employed women fell below that of employed women, changing from a positive differential of about 0.2 average live births.

Is education a factor? Apart from Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland and Norway), Portugal and Malta, in general, women with lower education had higher TFR between 2007 and 2011. Eurostat state the fertility of women across the EU over the same period with a medium level of education dropped by about 9%, while the decrease for women with high or low education was less significant.

Eurostat argues that economic recessions have correlation to falling child birth rates. Apart from the direct impact of economic crises at an individual level, the economic uncertainty that spreads during periods of hardship seem to influence fertility. From this point of view Eurostat believes the duration of a crisis may play an important role and, the duration and the depth of the current recession are unprecedented in some countries. The agency states,

The expected relationship is that negative changes in GDP correspond to negative changes in the TFR, possibly with some delay, thus showing a high positive correlation at particular lags. The correlation with the TFR is relevant in Spain and Latvia without any lag; in Bulgaria, Poland and Romania with one year of lag; and in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Croatia with two years of lag. Taking the overall average across countries, a change in GDP is mostly positively correlated with a change in the TFR within about 19 months.”

Do we cynically argue that stagnant child birth rates aren’t just a factor of societal changes? Perhaps a truer reflection on the higher levels of poverty in the EU since GFC and the harsh realities for a growing number of people behind the growing levels of populism who are suffering greater economic hardship than statisticians are presenting to the political class? Hard decisions must be made before they are made by external factors.