As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 20th of July, 2019, based on economic trends and the number of residents in other transition countries, Croatian economist Velimir Šonje estimates that less developed countries, as well as Croatia can stabilise their number of inhabitants when they reach 80 percent of EU average.
The message from Tao Zhang, the deputy director of the IMF, was that Croatia’s region would grow old before it gets richer, ie, before it reaches a certain level of economic development that will provide all of its inhabitants with a decent standard.
Bleak outlooks dominate in almost all of Croatia’s demographic forecasts by which the number of older people will be doubled by the middle of the century, and by the end of the century, there will be two retirees for every one working individual, Večernji list writes.
As stated, based on economic trends and the number of residents in other transition countries, Croatian economist Velimir Šonje estimates that less developed countries, as well as Croatia, can manage to stabilise their numbers of inhabitants when they reach 80 percent of EU average. – The Czech Republic, Slovenia and Slovakia, with no particular population decline, are around or above 80 percent of the EU average.
Estonia, which has recently reached that level, had experienced a decline earlier, but it eventually stopped, says Šonje. A researcher from the Vienna Institute, Isolda Mara, came to the conclusion that salary growth resulted in the slowing of certain types of migration. Another conclusion was also drawn, that external mobility from the newer EU member states had slowed down since 2015, and is likely to remain at a lower level in the future.
However, this analyst also points out the fact that it is too early to talk about stronger return migration. 2018 could prove to be a breakthrough year for Croatia, because last year, there was a decrease in emigration and growth in immigration ever since Croatia joined the European Union back in 2013. New Europe is copying Western countries more than those in Croatia realise it is, and they’re filling their own labour market gaps with immigration from their less developed, poorer close neighbours.
Even though it makes up part of the group of countries that have managed to reach 80 percent of the average EU GDP, emigration is also still present in neighbouring Slovenia, where this year, according to official information, there are about 40,000 foreigners working there, mostly from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. Unlike Croatian migrants who raise their anchors and take their entire families with them abroad, Slovenians prefer daily migration and travel to work in Austria or Italy, but continue to ”make their beds” at home in Slovenia.
”Croatia’s tragedy is the fact that it could already be close to 80 percent of EU’s average growth. In 2007, Croatia was at 61 percent of the EU average, Poland was at 53 percent, and today Poland is at 71 percent! In the meantime, Croatia has steadily grown two percentage points faster than the EU average, today Croatia could have been at 76 percent instead of at 63 percent,” said Velimir Šonje, who calculated that Croatia would reach 85 percent of the EU’s average development level by 2035, if it continued to grow two percentage points faster than the EU average.
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