Most Croats in Germany Say They Will Never Return

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Interesting results of a study of Croatians who have moved to Germany.

The demographic issue has become a critical national and security issue of Croatia as a nation. At the same time, as many as 79 percent of recent Croat emigrants say they are thrilled with their “new life” in Germany, and 88.5 percent of them do not regret leaving Croatia. These are the results gathered by Tado Jurić from the Department of History of the Croatian Catholic University, who has conducted a survey of 1,200 respondents who migrated to Germany in the past three years, reports Glas Slavonije on April 16, 2018.

Jurić points out that the results show a clear link between political ethics, weak institutions and emigration. The majority of immigrants say that the reason for moving abroad was the better economic situation, but not the fact that they could not find a job in the homeland. Many also say that better working conditions were a factor, as well as socio-political issues. “It was to be assumed that legal and economic insecurity, the immorality of political elites and corruption contributed to emigration. But, we did not expect to see so many employed persons emigrating. It was also surprising that many said that so-called subjective motives were the key. Many are motivated by the desire to experience or learn something new or to develop their careers, which is not possible in the homeland,” wrote Jurić in his research.

Interestingly, women in Croatian society are more inclined to migration than ever before. Most people emigrating are aged between 25 and 45. Most of the emigrants are employed, most often with completed secondary education (60.7%), while the share of those with university degrees is 37.8 percent, which is a 12 percent higher share than in the 25-40 age group in Croatia.

When it comes to regional distribution, the strongest tendency for migration is present in Zagreb and central Croatia, and Slavonia and Baranja regions, which is also in line with the data of the Central Bureau of Statistics, which cites the City of Zagreb, Osijek-Baranja County and Zagreb County as top emigration regions.

“Importantly, the largest number of respondents quoted security and political and legal stability as the most important factors when it comes to choosing the destination country,” said the researcher, adding that 73 percent of Croatians are satisfied with German wages and only five percent are dissatisfied.

Regarding the possibility of returning, most of them will remain in Germany at least until retirement (85%). Just 15 percent of them plan to return in the short or medium term, and 45 percent might eventually come back after they retire. For 40 percent of respondents, the return is not a possibility at all. Still, 65% of emigrants consider as essential to nurture their national culture, language and traditions.

The results also show that Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is experiencing mass emigration of Croats of historic proportions, which is mostly a consequence of the political situation in BiH. According to the data, one-third of all Croat migrants originate from BiH. As many as 47 percent of respondents used to receive under 500 euro in net salaries in Bosnia. Therefore, it is not surprising that most of the Croats who have moved to Germany (73.1%) are satisfied with their German wages.

In recent years, employed people are more inclined to migrate, motivated by the desire to improve their careers. Many say they do not want to depend on having to belong to specific interest groups to keep their jobs. Emigrants from Croatia emphasise their desire for economic and political-legal security, distrust in the judiciary and the institutions, and general doubts in the development of the country and society as significant reasons for moving abroad. They say that the main culprits are ineffective politicians, ineffective judiciary and war profiteers.

Jurić says that one of the motives for this research was to give contribution to a fight against the moral panic with regard to this topic, because the moral panic and the creation of “collective psychosis” are factors fueling emigration, which is why Croatia, every two months, loses as many people as it lost during the Homeland War.

Translated from Glas Slavonije (reported by Igor Bošnjak).

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