Perceptions over migration are at the centre of the current discourse in the EU and fueling conflict in the UK post the Brexit vote; but there is an unasked question that is at the centre of the furore over the EU free movement rule.
Critically the One-Planet Equation 1=PxCxRI tells us that for a given amount of Consumption(resources) as Population increases the average Resource Intensity of society must fall. Resource Intensity can be seen as a proxy for Quality of Life and its value is skewed away from the less fortunate in society. Hence the Referendum vote and our present predicament. Note this is not a mathematical equation but a Mind Model.
Given this, the outcome of the EU rule is and was predictable if negotiators had understood this fact.
The unasked question, understanding this Mind Model, is ‘Given the predictable result of allowing (demanding) free movement, regardless of the resulting effect on the Resource Intensity of Member States citizens, is there a fairer way of dealing with the situation?’
It seems Population Density is a fairer way of doing this. Without using exact numbers and with freely available information, we have for a few Member States the following –
Netherlands – area 42,000 km2 Population Density 497
England – 131,000 – 410
Germany -360,000 – 229
France – 645,000 – 121
Poland – 313,000 – 122
England is listed as this country led to the Brexit vote. UK average Population Density is a lot lower at 269 and reflects the lesser concern over the question in other parts of the UK. Poland is not being singled out but just included for comparison.
Also for comparison China is 145 and India 436.
If now we define a desired Quality of Life upper limit on Population Density of say 550 people per square kilometer and a time period to reach the figure say 25 years – we can calculate a net annual population increase for each EU state, through migration and other factors.
Based on this method the annual net annual migration into the Netherlands and England could fairly be held at far less than Germany and France for example.
The logic of this method can be argued to States and their citizens, unfettered free movement cannot to those States with high population density already and large numbers of citizens without access to a lifestyle with a decent Resource Intensity.