GERMANY – Germany will be “older and emptier” in 2025 with fewer people in work and twice as many over-80s, according to Deutsche Bank chief economist Norbert Walter.

“A key question for our export nation will be whether we will meet the challenge of ageing by developing new skills and offering them on the world market,” Walter forecast at a workshop on future prospects.

He said the ratio of working Germans would have dropped 4% to 63% in 2025, with over-80s will reaching 8% - twice as high as today.

But an older population could become an opportunity and Germany “could become a pioneer in the healthcare market, leading the way for other ageing economies like Japan”.

Germany's population will still be 80 million but “far fewer” of them would actually be Germans.

“All in all, Germany will be older and emptier. Ideally, though, it will have attracted the ‘high potentials’ from around the world and will thus retain its innovative power,” he said.

But with a gross domestic product of $2.7trn Germany would be the world’s fifth largest economy and one of the top performers within the EU together with Spain, Austria and France.

Ireland would be “Europe's growth engine” even though GDP growth will have dropped to 3.8% from 7%.

“The Irish will still boast the highest growth rate among the OECD countries. Per-capita income will be nearly as high as in the USA.”

Spain would be the “attractive destination for migration”. “In 2025, the Spaniards will be wealthier than the British and the Germans,” Walter said.