Vice President Calls for Urgent Demographic Measures and Policies
109 POLITICS - DEMOGRAPHIC CRISIS - CONFERENCE - ILIANA YOTOVA
Vice President Calls for Urgent
Sofia, October 26 (BTA) - Bulgarian Vice President Iliana Yotova said Bulgaria is one of the five EU countries with the fastest decreasing population. "Measures and policies should not be postponed. We should not discuss this only when yet another disheartening statistics shows up or when we see a shocking headline characterizing Bulgaria as the fastest shrinking nation," Yotova said here Friday. She opened a conference on the Demograpic Challenges and Policies in Bulgaria, which was organized by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Shoumen-based Society with Solidarity in the Sofia Hotel Balkan.
"This is an issue that does not depend on political mandates, and while it may seem difficult in the current situation, it requires a national consensus," said Yotova.
Yotova reminded conference attendants that according to statistics, Bulgaria's mortality rate is the highest in Europe and is 60 per cent higher than the birth rate. Almost 5 per cent of existing villages are depopulated and 13 per cent have up to 20 inhabitants. In the next ten years between 800 and 1,000 Bulgarian villages will cease to exist. "There are some regions of the country that are in danger of becoming demographic deserts," said the Vice president.
"For many years now, Northwestern Bulgaria has been the least developed region in all Europe, and, obviously, the EU Cohesion Policy accomplished almost nothing in 11 years. Poverty is not limited to the Northwest, as it is spreading over other parts of the country, especially near the borders and in the Northeast," said Yotova. In 2016 the dependency ratio (the number of dependents aged 65 years and over and those younger than 14, per 100 working-age people) was 170 per cent in the northeastern Silistra region. No other EU member state has such ratio, said Yotova. LI/TH