"Fertility rates have fallen for 15 European countries – based on 22 studies and other work – between 2008 and 2011," concludes a study by the Vienna Institute of Demography as reported by Le Figaro. The crisis in Europe is hitting the birthrates of the Old Continent hard, especially in the southern countries of the eurozone, observes the newspaper, adding that this is one conclusion that is final.

The crisis in Europe is having a direct and profound impact on birth rates, which have plunged in Greece (1.43 children per woman), Portugal (1.35), Spain (1.36) and Ireland (2.05).

The French newspaper distinguishes between France and Germany, which are the two exceptions in Europe, but for different reasons. Even when European fertility rates were showing strong growth in the three boom years before the crisis,

Germany never experienced a rise. France also stands out for its fertility rate, which rose from 1.8 to 2 in 10 years, despite the crisis, thanks to a generous family policy.

The Vienna Institute warns of the risk that the populations of Greece, Spain and in Portugal will fail to renew themselves:

In a worrying development in Greece, the number of abortions went up by 50 per cent in 2011, while in Portugal the number of births fell to 90,000 in 2012 – its lowest point in 60 years.

Le Figaro's correspondent in Spain notes finally that

if nothing changes, the country could lose more than 10 per cent of its population over the next 40 years.