Roundtable Discussion: Croatia Urgently Needs Demographic Revitalisation Strategy

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Pixabay License - Free for commercial use

This is a national issue above party politics that requires a consensus, and action plans as part of a 10-year national demographic revitalisation strategy should be mandatory for all future governments, it was said at the round table organised in cooperation with the Department for Demography and Croatian Expatriate Community at the Faculty of Croatian Studies.

“Now is the last moment for resolute social action to slow down and halt the negative trends,” the group’s whip, Ivana Posavec Krivec, said.

The Social Democrats recalled the latest preliminary results of the population census, which they described as alarming.

“Croatia has lost 9.25% of its population in 10 years and now has 3,888,529 residents. In addition to the population decline, caused by the low birth rate and emigration, we are among the oldest European nations,” she said.

Deputy Parliament Speaker Davorko Vidović said the key problem was “the lack of political will and inability of the political elite” to define a broader project and broader vision of where Croatia should be in 20 or 30 years’ time.

“We lack a strategic document and key vision so it is no wonder we don’t have a solution for individual areas such as demography,” he added.

Professor Anđelko Akrap from the Demographics Department at the Faculty of Economics said that “Croatia has never implemented a demographic policy which costs, just like any other production.”

Akrap: Only Croatia, Romania, Latvia and Bulgaria have a negative natural increase rate

“Only Croatia, Romania, Latvia and Bulgaria have a negative natural increase rate and negative net migration, other countries only have emigration,” he said, noting that the negative trends would impact GDP growth.

Professor Tado Jurić of the Croatian Catholic University underscored that not one other EU member state apart from Croatia had experienced a 10% population decrease in eight years.

He noted that economic reasons were not the only reasons why people are emigrating.

“Surveys have shown that lack of security and injustice are the main reasons why people emigrate,” he said.

The only way Croatia can resolve its demographic problem is with immigration. We need positive population measures. Classic demographic measures are useless if they are not accompanied by a resolute fight against corruption and nepotism, concluded Jurić.

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