Ivan Krastev: Mass Emigration Has Dramatically Hurt Bulgaria's Economy, Political System

Novinite Insider » OPINIONS | March 26, 2015, Thursday // 11:44| Views: | Comments: 13
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Bulgaria: Ivan Krastev: Mass Emigration Has Dramatically Hurt Bulgaria's Economy, Political System Photo: BGNES

The issue of Eastern European emigration to the UK, as well as its implications in both regions are discussed in the opinion piece by Bulgarian journalist Ivan Krastev for The Guardian.

The brain drain of the East has largely caused heated debates all across the continent.

In the typical for Bulgaria self-mocking tone, regular people often say that those staying in the country can be compared to the ''last samurais'', still believing that home is best.

It is additionally noted that a recent report published in 24 Chasa daily shockingly revealed that more than 3 million Bulgarians are now living outside the borders of their home country. For a population now amounting to slightly less than 7 million people, as reported by the CIA Factbook, the rate is extremely high.

Additionally, a number of false accusations have arisen as a result of the clash of cultures and disinformation, in the author's opinion.

The myth that emigrants were mostly people with little to no education counting on social welfare in the West has been rebuted. As mass emigration was mainly in the ''age range of 25 to 50, the Bulgarian economy and political system have been dramatically hurt''.

Qualified workers are said to be the crucial mass of people choosing the emigrant life as a means to be able to better support their families.

A number of them have stated that they wish to come back, but the mission often proves to be far from easy. Even if they do come back, many find local labor climate far from welcoming.

''Brilliantly talented individuals have undoubtedly benefited from the opening of borders, but so have at least two other groups: bad eastern European politicians and xenophobic western European parties,'' the article goes.

The controversial debate on whether UK borders should once again be closed for Eastern Europe has also been addressed.

According to a recent survey, most Bulgarians consider the past more than 20 years in transition to democracy to have been a ''failure'' at large. However, most do see the opening of the borders to be one of the most positive elements to the EU accession, giving them more opportunities for professional and personal growth and development.

A more severe dilemma now seems inevitable - whether borders should be closed to secure UK's remaining in the union, but risking trust of newly acceded member-states, or vice versa.

The full article is available here.

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Tags: Bulgaria, EU, UK, emigration, population, people, Democratic, myths, assumptions, controversial, debate, dilemma, CIA Factbook, borders, qualified, workers, home
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» To the forumComments (13)
Fr Jack Hackett - 1 Apr 2015 // 14:48:31

I do not believe that the UKs opposition to mass immigration is primarily xenophobic. Britain is a smallish island with limited resources and massive borrowing to shore up its benefits system for its own people and for people from elsewhere. It seems from what I have read, that native British are being pushed to the end of the line behind people from elsewhere for GP placements. housing, hospital appointments, school places and benefits. I think any country where that was happening to the native population would be entitled to feel angry. But it is the politicians of the UK who are allowing this to continue and calling the British racist if they complain

muteylyn - 1 Apr 2015 // 10:32:29

Some people may suceed in bulgaria there is no doubt about that but it is very difficult The system is so corrupted and therefore unless you become part of this you have very little hope

Most bulgarians will tell you this

If you want to suceed in the uk you can not expect to do it on a 40 hour week Most of the time i spent there was 70 hr weeks
This is the only way you can get up the ladder but dont tell me it cant be done

VillaGuy - 1 Apr 2015 // 04:34:15

I also think further to this that people from poorer countries see that the UK harbours a lot of rich people, thinking of the rags to riches stories. Well they need to realise that a huge majority of Britains wealthiest got rich primarily in Eastern Europe (Russia), India or the Middle East, then buying residences in London as it is a tax domicile for foreign rich. Very few are home grown. The UK jobs market is very competitive, and corruption exists that is smoothed over by claiming it within the limits of a purposefully created legal framework. Because Bulgaria was a succesful market planned economy, people are in the mind still that the state is responsible for everything and have something to blame for a tough life. Bulgarians need to realise that in a capitalist society it's down to you, and there are vultures and sharks everywhere, whether you call them mafia, corrupt individuals or government policies. When Bulgarians get this in their heads then the country will become a success, but burying head in the sand, then jumping from one frying pan to the next will do nothing.

VillaGuy - 31 Mar 2015 // 12:37:18

I do understand, but really it isn't possible to save up at the bottom in the UK. This is only practically possible if you are a resident, living with parents for zero living costs. The kinds of jobs are often dead end factory careers too, with little or no progress likely. I chatted with a Slovak, living in the UK after working for IBM in Slovakia linking commercial addresses with Sat Nav systems, however he was unable to find that sort of job in the UK despite persistence, even with IBM here. He has returned back to Slovakia, and that is no shame to him. People who think Bulgaria is a hopeless prospect, really are talking from maybe a warped preconception. It is possible to become a success.

mutleylyn - 31 Mar 2015 // 12:14:40

Lots of people live in the conditiob=ns you describe by choice

They do this to save there money with the intentions of either buying property in there home countries or the uk

You hace to start at the botom This is nothing new

I do not agree with zero hour contracts

If you want to achieve something better then you have to work and save Thats what we had to do 40 years ago Its nothing new If you are especially unskilled it is harder so you have to try harder Theres no free breakfast
Working in bulgaria for bulgarian employers is certainely no better They treat staff like s---e and even dont pay them

VillaGuy - 31 Mar 2015 // 10:50:24

Well if they are living like many Latvians, Lithuanians, Poles, Slovaks and Estonians then I would disagree. The majority go over to places like Grimsby or Boston, work on minimum wages or usually not much more living in shared rentals like students. Often the work will be the famed UK zero hour contract system so they can pick and chose when to employ you, this contract also keeps you on your toes so you don't slack in your back breaking work. You need a decent job to save up over your rent or mortgage in the UK, so unless you have a great job lined up I'd only do it as a summer job/short term assignment to satisfy that itch. The more people that return to Bulgaria or never leave, the quicker the economy will progress

mulleylyn - 31 Mar 2015 // 10:13:05

Of cource if you are a bulgarian you would preter to live in your own country beside your family and friens

If you speak to Bulgarians abroad especially those with children they dont se a future in bulgaria because mainly corruption They are not living in poor conditions and have job opportunitie and are treated well

I am not bulgarian but have been in a similar position and did not regret leaving my country

GrueFski - 29 Mar 2015 // 21:14:22

And on top of all that, Bulgarians are neither black, nor Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi, nor from any other former British, French, Dutch, American, German, Belgian, Spanish or Portuguese non-Caucasian (i.e. non-white-race) colony, so the Westerners don't feel guilty or don't need to pretend to be feeling guilty towards them

VillaGuy - 29 Mar 2015 // 20:14:44

Come to my senses? I am not using a term like 'a sinking ship' which literally has nothing to do with a a steadfast geographical location. A lot changes in the space of a few decades, with right decisions Bulgaria may be more hospitable for those who like to get more for less. There are people who I have known prefer living in Bulgaria to Florida, having returned home after many years realising happiness (lifes main aim) can be made wherever and personal mindset is of more importance than media consumerist promise. In fact some people have returned to Greece, disenchanted with the loss of their cultural identity in the UK. Unless you are really well educated, the vast majority of Eastern Europeans won't understand nuanced humour or the british sense of humour, they generally come across as being a bit awkward however well they try to fit in. So my advice would be to build a better Bulgaria, not like it is behind at all in many ways anyway.

BG Realist - 29 Mar 2015 // 15:37:37

The Bulgarian oligarchs send their kids to UK for education and a normal childhood. The corrupt Bulgarian officials do the same thing. They all buy properties in London, Vienna, and other EU capitals with their ill gotten gains . Three million Bulgarians out seven million make a living outside the country. Bulgaria has become a sinking ship. No future, not even a glimpse of hope. And you are advising us to stay behind and build a better future? Do you actually believe in what you are saying? Wake up and come to your senses!!!

VillaGuy - 29 Mar 2015 // 00:29:34

Also, in the article the figure from the CIA worldfacts book is used for the current population, this in fact not a fact but an estimate made on projections made some years ago, Bulgaria's population is according to up to the minute population clocks over 7.2million, so less people have left for the EU than anticipated by a few hundred thousand or more people have returned realising that it isn't all smelling of roses in countries with higher wages but subsequently higher costs, balancing positives out.

VillaGuy - 29 Mar 2015 // 00:19:04

Life is a slow death wherever you are and whoever you are Bg in London, this is a harsh fact of a mortal existence. Maybe why the Germanwings fellow may have been upset with life and decided to put himself and his passengers misery to an end. Alternatively some people are from a more postive frame of mind, they can see positive indicators or positive traits that they would rather stick closer to their cultural roots out of choice. I have met many Eastern Europeans, working in jobs that are below their qualifications, living in poor cheap accomodation, hitting the bottle deciding that they want to persevere with the UK life as much out of not wanting to return and admit that the dream is just a mirage. Maybe they watched subtitled versions of 'The OC' back in Poland not realising that this isn't how the majority of people live in the west, instead they find themselves in the modal average at the bottom of the pyriamid on a squalid estate. My advice would be to return home with their new perspectives and make their sovereign lands better. Life is about personal pride, not materialistic adornments paid in instalments.

BG familiy in London - 28 Mar 2015 // 17:39:30

No news here. Everybody in Bulgaria knows this. If you stay in Bulgaria life becomes a slow death, if you go at least you can save your kids.

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