Croatia Has Imported Thousands of Unskilled Single Men, Says Večernji List

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How many foreign workers should Croatia, being a small country, import to reach the average standard of living in the EU, so that all those who work today do not sink into poverty when they retire, says the daily.

What makes a state a state are its residents, with the standard of living being ensured by employed citizens and institutions that work for public welfare, while its future is ensured by its children and youth, says the daily.

In a period of only 30 years Croatia has lost close to one million residents, and according to demographers, today it has a population of only 3.85 million, with the share of citizens aged over 65 exceeding the share of children and young people under 19, which puts Croatia among the world’s oldest nations.

With such a population structure, intensive emigration over the past eight years, and a brain-drain, Croatia cannot have stronger economic growth but has been keeping afloat with uncontrolled labour imports, hopeful that at least some of those who have emigrated will return so that all citizens could have a decent life, says the daily.

According to UN projections from 2015, Croatia’s population was to have shrunk to 3.9 million only in 2030, but those projections have turned out to be optimistic, as the figure has been reached a decade earlier, the daily says.

Speaking at the recent conference “The Croatia We Need”, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said that raising the standard of living should be a goal for everyone and that between 100,000 and 150,000 new jobs would mean less worry and a much stronger and more sustainable growth with the help of which the average European standard of living would be achieved more easily.

But he did not say if he meant that the 100,000 to 150,000 workers should be imported or that some of the 119,000 domestic job-seekers should be activated as well, the daily says, noting that Croatia has 1.236 million pensioners and 1.604 million employed persons.

The government has not answered either if the minister was referring to labour imports and where those workers would be imported from, the daily says.

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