The Bulgarian Academy of Science has suggested the arrival of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa, but also from EU accession countries can be used to tackle the demographic crisisBulgaria has plundged into.
A report on population trends until 2030 unveiled by the academy on Tuesday reads that some 7200 migrants from the region should be accepted and convinced to stay.
It also suggests growth rate can be improved by an influx of nationals from EU accession countries. While last year 8975 citizens of such countries were granted residence permits, the overal number for the next 15 years could be increased to 45-185 000 through specific policies.
Expats who left the country over the course of 25 years should also be encouraged to return, with the academy saying Bulgaria needs 60-80 000 of them to help reverse demographic trends.
The best-case senario for Bulgaria would be a zero growth rate in 2030, against the backdrop of negative values throughout the past two-and-a-half decades. In 2014, the rate was a negative 0.6%.
Bulgaria‘s population, currently about 7.2 million, has shrunk by more than two million since the fall of Communism, partially due to the mass exodus of Bulgarians that started in the 1990s, with many looking for a job in Western and Southern Europe. As of the last few years, between 50 and 70 000 Bulgarians leave the country annually.
A recent report by the National Statistical Instutute (NSI) warned the country’s population could sink below five million by 2070.