Falling populations pose ‘existential’ risk, Croatia warns EU

Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenkovic . EPA-EFE/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN / POOL

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The EU must confront an “existential” problem of population decline faced by a swath of its member states, Croatia’s prime minister has warned.

Andrej Plenkovic, the country’s centre-right prime minister, told the Financial Times that countries including his own were grappling with a shrinking population and rural depopulation because of low birth rates and emigration to more prosperous regions.

The population fell in 10 of the 28 EU member states in 2018, including Croatia, Latvia, Bulgaria and Romania, according to Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency.

“This is a structural, almost an existential problem for some nations, and we are not the only one,” said Mr Plenkovic in an interview in Brussels. “We are losing a city of 15,000, 16,000 people per year just by the fact that we have 15,000, 16,000 more deaths than births. For a country of around 4m, that is a lot, right? Plus we have freedom of movement now”.

Croatia, the EU’s newest member, is the fifth-fastest shrinking country in the world, and is set to lose 17 per cent of its 2017 population by 2050, according to the UN.

 

Read more via The Financial Times

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