The EU’s policy of “replacement migration” is an economic failure and threatens to undermine China’s New Silk Road strategy for Europe by diminishing the continent’s much-needed consumer market potential, which should thereby serve as an impetus for Beijing to consider investing in social programs there as a means of encouraging replacement fertility for the EU’s citizens.
The Roots Of “Replacement Migration”
The EU’s liberal-progressive ruling elite aided and abetted the Migrant Crisis as a means of encouraging “replacement migration” to compensate for their falling populations, naively believing in the dogma of their bloc’s de-facto “Cultural Marxist” ideology that civilizationally dissimilar migrants will seamlessly adapt to their new host societies and quickly become productive citizens. They expected that the relatively impoverished and in many cases largely uneducated “New Europeans” from Africa, the Mideast, and South Asia who have uncontrollably flooded into Europe would have no problem climbing the ladder of socio-economic success in one day replacing their dying European counterparts in all professional spheres.
It should also be reminded in this vein that these “New Europeans” didn’t just appear out of nowhere, but are the product of the unipolar wars that created them in the first place and the NGO-assisted human trafficking networks that then imported these “Weapons of Mass Migration” to Europe, both activities of which the EU elite have been complicit in. As could have been anticipated by any objective observer not under the influence of “Cultural Marxism”, this irresponsible multi-layered policy has totally failed in its presumed economic intentions, though it’s cynically succeeded in planting the seeds for a massive socio-cultural reengineering of some leading European countries’ demographics.
China’s Strategic Stake In The EU
While one might be led to immediately think that the consequences of this epic disaster would be limited solely to the bloc’s borders, few people realize that it will also affect China’s grand strategy by eventually depriving Beijing of the robust consumer-driven marketplace that it needs from the EU in order to make its large-scale infrastructure investments there worthwhile. China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity is driven by Beijing’s desire to develop and secure new consumer markets to which it could offload its overproduction, as the failure to do so would with time lead to socio-economic consequences in the People’s Republic as state-sponsored firms are forced to lay off countless workers if they dramatically downscale production or can’t make ends meet anymore.
The Eurasian Land Bridge, the Silk Road connectivity project through Kazakhstan and Russia, as well as the Balkan Silk Road through Greece all the way up to Central Europe, are intended to connect China’s East Asian producers with Western European consumers, but if Europe is no longer the consumption powerhouse that it once was after a decade of “replacement migration”, then the whole strategy is nullified with potentially disastrous consequences for Beijing. Although it’s “politically incorrect” to admit as much in the West, the “New Europeans” from the Global South consume more in government subsidies than they do in actual products, and when – or in many cases, if – they enter the labor force, it’s usually in low-end and low-paying sectors which aren’t in any way capable of replacing the ever-aging consumers that are steadily dying out.
In addition, many of the “New Europeans” self-segregate themselves by refusing to assimilate and integrate into their host countries, which in and of itself increases domestic tensions even without considering the crime wave that some of them have helped contribute to. When the newly imported “replacement population” does acquire a little bit of extra money to spend on the economy, they’re more prone to patronize local neighborhood stores run by their fellow ethnic or religious compatriots (usually migrants themselves) inside of their anchor communities. Altogether, these socio-economic habits undermine the whole Silk Road spirit of inclusivity and are extremely problematic for China because of the country’s future dependency on EU consumption trends remaining as traditionally strong as they used to be.
Left unchecked, “replacement migration” in the EU will inevitably lead to a decrease in the bloc’s economic prowess, which in turn will jeopardize China’s grand strategy of using its New Silk Roads – and especially the EU-Chinese vectors of the Eurasian Land Bridge and Balkan Silk Road – as a vehicle for realigning global trade patterns and therefore building the sustainable framework for the emerging Multipolar World Order. In what could be seen as both a blessing and a curse, however, the rise of populist sentiment in the EU could divert the bloc’s present globalist trajectory towards a more “nationalist” course in both of its interlinked socio-cultural and economic manifestations. On the one hand, the masses might succeed in pressuring the elite to downscale or outright suspend their “replacement migration” policies, but on the other, they might also naturally advocate for semi-protectionist trade measures such as the “investment screening framework” that European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker recently proposed.
This initiative aims to give EU governments the power to selectively prevent the sale of strategic economic assets to foreign state-controlled or state-funded companies and is generally thought to be directed against China. Although grounded in plausible national security concerns and already implemented to varying extents in some EU and non-EU countries, the timing and nature of Junker’s proposal suggests that he’s more interested in capturing European markets for the bloc’s leading German, French, and Italian companies by crafting legislation which could deny their Chinese competitors equal access to them. Even though it’s being spearheaded by one of the EU’s most reviled bureaucrats and outspoken enemies of populism, this motion is expected to enjoy a surprising level of grassroots support because of its superficial channeling of populist energy, particularly as it relates to the perception of non-European foreigners taking over the continent.
China is therefore presented with a dilemma because it arguably stands to lose in the long-term if the “Cultural Marxist” policy of “replacement migration” is allowed to mature and begin systematically degrading the EU’s consumer market capabilities, but it also gains from the associated globalist policy of allowing unregulated investment from Chinese state-affiliated companies into strategic EU industries. From the reverse perspective in respect to populism, China’s Silk Road strategy would be safeguarded if “replacement migration” was done away with and replaced with populist initiatives encouraging the increased fertility of a nation’s population, though Beijing needs to be wary of the “economic nationalism” manifestation of populism which could see severe restrictions placed on its plans to invest in more of the EU’s strategic industries and maintain access to their national markets.
A Populist Solution For The Silk Road
The best approach that China could follow in encouraging higher birthrates in its top Silk Road target market while simultaneously pioneering creative ways for its state-linked companies to ingratiate themselves with their host states is to replicate the West’s new economic model in the “Third World” but apply it to European “First World” conditions. What’s meant by this is that China should “sweeten its deals” with the promise of investing in, or dispersing grant money to, soft infrastructure projects such as schools, healthcare facilities, and job-training programs in order to improve the quality of life of its partner state’s citizens. Western companies rarely implement this strategy like they’re supposed to because they’re more concerned about using it as a public relations ploy for boosting their attractiveness in other markets, and the host governments generally don’t hold them accountable because the ruling party/elite are often bribed through this plausibly deniable money-transferring channel to keep quiet about it.
China, however, doesn’t have to fall into this short-term trap and could order its state-linked companies to adhere to this model like it was originally intended in improving the living conditions of the recipient state and “winning hearts and minds” because of it. In the context of contemporary populism and with an eye on Beijing’s long-term New Silk Road interests in protecting the EU’s future consumer market potential, China could even subsidize (whether openly or discretely) the financial incentives that populist governments hand out to their citizens in encouraging higher fertility. After all, China knows that replacement birthrates produce better consumers than “replacement migration” does, and Beijing’s Silk Road strategy hinges on the EU retaining its impressive consumer market potential. Likewise, populists are against “replacement migration” and in favor of improving their citizens’ fertility, so this theoretically represents a win-win solution for both sides.
To reiterate the main point being expressed in this proposal, China needs to find a way to confront the dual challenges of the expected drop in the EU’s consumer market potential following the “successful” implementation of its “replacement migration” policy and also devise a creative strategy for preventing its state-affiliated companies from being denied access to the bloc’s strategic industries due to superficially populist initiatives such as Juncker’s “investment screening framework”. This necessitates that China craft a comprehensive policy which highlights its value-added differentiators in appealing to the rising populist zeitgeist in Europe, one which has already seen the Central European countries of Poland and Hungary promote higher birthrates through state subsidies and could probably become the continental standard in the next decade if the failed policy of “replacement migration” is eventually replaced. That said, this could only happen if the EU countries experience a surge in births across the coming decades, but many of them might not be able to afford the social costs that that this entails and would therefore have to look abroad for financial support if want to have any chance at sustainably implementing this proposal.
Therefore, the ideal win-win solution that China and the populists (whether in each individual EU country or the bloc as a whole) could forge with one another would be if Beijing agrees to an arrangement to bankroll an ambitious fertility-increasing policy and its attendant social requirements (schools, healthcare facilities, job-training programs, etc.) in exchange for continued and preferential access to their strategic industries and markets. Considering how far behind the EU’s population replacement rate is, then China and its partners should set the bar high by aiming for a three-child policy that the People’s Republic would help pay for by channeling its “communist spirit” to redistribute some of its state-supported companies’ wealth to the host country’s citizenry so as to ensure Beijing’s long-term interests with respect to the Silk Road. So long as China can succeed in preserving the EU’s consumer market strength and even enhancing its capacity, then Beijing won’t have much to worry about regarding its long-term strategy for Western Eurasia, but if the “Cultural Marxists” win by having “replacement migration” ruin all of this, then China will face a major threat which could jeopardize its future global leadership plans.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.