Are Bulgaria and Romania bleeding to death?

According to a report compiled by the Academy of Sciences in Sofia Bulgaria's population will have shrunk by 20 percent by the year 2040. There are no precise figures for Romania currently, but observers fear a similar decline in Bulgaria's neighbouring country. Commentators from both countries describe the devastating consequences of this trend.

Open/close all quotes
Trud (BG) /

Bulgaria already dead demographically speaking

Demography expert Petar Ivanov describes in Trud the fall in population in dramatic terms:

“It sounds terrible but in Bulgaria the death bells are ringing. The country is currently experiencing the worst demographic crisis in its entire history. It is already dead from a demographic point of view. We are disappearing at a faster rate than in any other country in the world. We have the highest mortality rate. In the last nine years we have moved up from 19th place to first place, ahead of countries like Syria and Afghanistan where wars are raging. We are melting away even more rapidly than Swaziland, where there's an Aids epidemic. ... At the Academy of Sciences' demographics department we have calculated that the population is decreasing at a rate of 220 people per day. That's nine people per hour.”

Ziare (RO) /

The biggest exodus in times of peace

The Romanian parliament on Wednesday passed further legal amendments that will work to the advantage of politicians accused of corruption. If no big protests have resulted it's because of the population exodus, Ziare comments:

“The protests against the 'legalisation of theft' have proved significantly weaker than those against the emergency ordinance no. 13 [of February 2017], even though what is happening now is clearly more serious. Many say that today people are just indifferent. I don't believe that. Because many who protested back then with their glowing mobile phones have long since left the country. They've turned their backs on Romania, the land of the 167 parliamentarians who are playing the role of executioners of the rule of law. This country is seeing the biggest exodus ever in times of peace, comparable with that in Syria.”