Staffing, manpower, human resources - this is how we got used to talking about the people who work or are needed by employers. And it's a compliment to call them human capital or talents. And all these people have their own destinies and careers. In search of better realization and income, of better lives, some took the risk of leaving and others stayed. Globalization has opened the boundaries, so we no longer put an emigrant stamp to those who have traveled the world. They just study or work abroad and are Bulgarians from the "Other Bulgaria". Globalization has shaken the meaning of words like homeland and motherland. Whether “here” or “there” - today everyone can choose for themselves.
Business needs people, their lack would set a limit to potential growth. And a solution will surely be found, but it must be actively sought. If we do not take adequate measures and overcome the demographic collapse, if the Bulgarians do not find a decent living in Bulgaria, if the country does not become more attractive to work and to live not just in Sofia and several major cities, the time when the two parts of Bulgaria would even out their numbers is not far. This is not a threat, but a real trend.
Are we going to reverse the direction of migration? Or are we going to continue weeping about the shrinking Bulgaria ...
We offer two points of view of people from the “inside” and from the “outside”
Lawyer Rumen Cholakov is the chairman of the "Road of the Young" movement
Lawyer Rumen Cholakov:
Either rescue reforms or Terminal 1 and 2
Give the WAY to YOUNG PEOPLE before we get old
Where is Bulgaria? The territory or the population, madam? ... Yes, that sad humor became a joke. It is perhaps for the first time in a long time that we have historically seen a migration of a people leaving their country. This phenomenon is long-term and is, therefore, so dangerous. You don't feel it sharply and it's easy to ignore it until one day you wake up and realize it's too late.
Bulgaria, viewed from the inside, is a beautiful country with strong but poor people.
Viewed from outside, Bulgaria, unfortunately, lags behind in the region, mainly for political reasons.
Quite a few Bulgarians are leaving Bulgaria, for some it's just an evacuation ... But how accurate are they? At Road of the Young, we urge the government to do a census of Bulgarians abroad. The official figures are for 700 thousand people, and the apocryphal ones - for 3.5 million. I believe it is closer to the second figure. The truth is obviously frightening. This is the worst assessment of a governance when people are just leaving. This is how Bulgarians are protesting today - not at the “yellow bricks”, not at Eagle’s Bridge, but at Terminals 1 and 2.
The demographic collapse ... The solution is outside. It is time to become more tolerant and open to others and to differences. To attract ethnic Bulgarians, students from Asia and even stop hating our own diaspora. Because it is as if we hate the "Abroad" and, at the same time, we envy it. By 2050, the world's population is expected to reach 9 billion (now it’s over 7.7 billion). Will there be anyone willing to live in Bulgaria? I believe that as Hungary attracts 2,000 Mongolians who learn the language, adapt to the culture and stay there for life, so can we. Promoting birth rates financially means doing it the hard way. Because the government does not have the resources to do this. We don't even have enough kindergartens in Sofia at our current birth rate. We haven't even tied our shoes together, so how are we going to climb Mount Everest?
The Education factor is undoubtedly a major one. In fact, Bulgaria has no universities in the top 1000 in the world. From time to time Sofia University enters between 850-1000 place in some charity charts. And how do you retain the best students when the world is open to them? And for those who remain, what education do they receive to be competitive in today's global and connected economy? Applicants are accepted into law school with an average grade, then we complain about the court system. It is inevitable. We have 50 accredited colleges, we need to close at least 20 and focus resources in one, two or three. Sounds shocking? In the United Kingdom, with a population of more than 66 million people, there are about 100 universities, while we are already below 7 million, and barely filling the classes. This is the truth. The medicine is harsh, but the patient needs it.
Bulgaria - attractive to Bulgarians as well as to foreigners ... What is attractive now? Roads, political parties, the media, the judiciary, pensions, hospitals? What is attractive is the nature and the fact that there is still a warm connection between humans, but that is also diminishing. And for about 50,000 people there are good opportunities in the IT sector. That is. It is possible to make Bulgaria attractive to Bulgarians and foreigners alike, but only with a lot of work. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are examples that give us clear directions for development.
Give the WAY to YOUNG PEOPLE… before we get old.
Milena Dimitrova is a journalist. She is the author of the book "The Second Bulgaria".
Epidemic emigration for work is dangerous for Bulgaria
Protecting human capital is a factor of national security, but the demographic collapse cannot be magically compensated for
When I hear people saying that business lacks staff ... I imagine that one day we will suddenly be surprised by the missing human capital in Bulgaria. Just as we were suddenly startled by the empty Studena Dam near Pernik. But the scale of modern epidemic emigration for work will be more fatal than the lack of water. Our roots are drying up. Of the nearly 9 million population by 1989, we have fallen below 7 million in 2019. In 2030, fewer than 4 million Bulgarians will live in the country, predicts the National Statistical Institute.
The demographic collapse ... is happening before our eyes. It cannot be magically compensated for by itself and in a hurry. However, I do not see adequate policies for the preservation of "brains" and "muscles" in Bulgaria.
I wrote the book "The Second Bulgaria" and I realized that ... during the First and Second World War we gave nearly 200,000 casualties. And in the thirty years since 1990, Bulgaria has lost more than 3 million people without having a war. The depopulation of entire villages and regions has proved to be a lasting and irreversible trend. I am less and less convinced that the economy, social security system, health care and education in Bulgaria are able to accept back the emigrant families and meet their needs and expectations. This "Second Bulgaria" continues to multiply like a foreign hive.
The imprint these 50 personal stories left on me... Everyone is free to build his life the way he wants and wherever he wants, if some place is too small for them. But everyone's destinies are affected by the era, history and geo-strategy of the place where one was destined to be born. In the book we read about a Bulgarian from Buenos Aires, an engineer from Sofia whose pension from Argentina has been snuffed out by the waves of inflation there. His grandfather also tried his luck in Argentina in 1905, but returned only a year later. His son graduated and married in Argentina, and moved his family to Spain. It no longer makes sense for mankind to initiate revolutions if it can find work all over the globe, says our experienced compatriot. In other words, globalization and competition are sweeping the sharpness of revolutionary situations, but other dangers come to the fore. This is how protecting human capital proves to be a factor in national security. For another Bulgarian from America, our national identity is like an anatomical organ – for some it has become stunted, others rush to amputate it, in others it hurts to the grave.
Viewed from the outside, Bulgaria ... is attractive and nostalgic in nature, climate, mountains, sea. The world is scared of it because it does not know the country well.
Seen from the inside ... it is full of injustice. I find it unjustifiable to oppose Bulgarians abroad and Bulgarians in Bulgaria.
The depopulation ... is mainly due to internal political factors. Bulgarians are forced to seek better jobs, professional realization and decent pay abroad. Nobody is waiting for them there with bread and salt and they are not running away because of any good.
Bulgaria will become attractive ... if the state starts taking care of the people and the standard of living.
The second Bulgaria will start coming back when ... the Bulgarians see that there is also an opportunity for decent and competitive income here.