《中英對照讀新聞》Babies wanted: Nordic countries crying for kids／需要小孩：北歐國家疾呼添丁弄瓦
"Norway needs more children! I don’t think I need to tell anyone how this is done," Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg said cheekily, but she was raising a real concern.
The Nordic countries were long a bastion of strong fertility rates on an Old Continent that is rapidly getting older. But they are now experiencing a decline that threatens their welfare model, which is funded by taxpayers.
In Norway, Finland and Iceland, birth rates dropped to historic lows in 2017, with 1.49 to 1.71 children born per woman. Just a few years earlier, their birth rates hovered close to the 2.1 level required for their populations to remain stable.
The Nordic region boasts a wealth of family-friendly initiatives, such as flexible working hours, a vast network of affordable daycares and generous parental leave systems.
When all that is still not enough to encourage people to have more children, immigration can be a lifeline － or a threat, depending on the point of view.（AFP）