Saturday, 9 September 2017

Free movement within the EU is disastrous for Eastern Europe

An interesting article on the BBC about the vertiginous decline in population in Bulgaria. Exactly the same thing is happening in Romania. Free movement of people within the EU, a design fault in the original EEC in 1957 but which did not matter until 2004, is having disastrous consequences for Eastern Europe.

This applies equally to Romania. Agriculture here is dying, despite the Common Agricultural Policy which should be helping.

When the Communists took power after World War Two, they brought in collective farming and many agricultural workers found work in new factories.
After Communism fell, in 1989, and collective farms were broken up, that trend

of leaving the countryside for the towns sharpened.
And many people don't stop there: they continue their search for work abroad.
In 1989, almost nine million people lived in Bulgaria. Now, it is a little over seven million. By 2050, that number is projected to be less than 5.5 million. By the end of the century, it could be close to half what it is now.
That last projection has little value of course.  

Very many people, tens of millions in fact at a conservative estimate, would like to take the place of the missing Bulgarians. The Bulgarian government is doing its level best to stop them, with much success so far.


  1. Free movement was the best thing that could happen to Eastern Europe. Where has all the capital come from? Much of the economy in EE countries was built with remittances sent from salaries working in the West. But in the large scheme of things, that was nothing. Human capital is a society's biggest asset, and this freedom of movement allowed Eastern Europeans to learn so many things (Western languages, how a free market works, new technologies, contract management) and new ideas (the importance of an independent justice system) that they were able to enrich their own societies manyfold. This will be seen over the next couple of generations - especially since many Romanians who live abroad tend to come back or maintain a presence in Romania. I think this mass exodus was more beneficial than millions of university degrees - or like the quote you posted before: one gram of experience is worth a ton of theory.

  2. Hear hear!! I have been living overseas since the 1980's, and considering the deterioration of life in the west, Romania is the best move I can think of. I find the mentality of Romanians to be a somewhat better version of the 1980's in the US: they are pragmatic and not wasteful. So yes, the educational value is priceless. Same can be said about India; the educational value of large companies training it's youth (even if they are poorly paid and sometimes not paid at all) and moving them around the west, is the real golden egg. Hmm BBC is predictably political, hinting to the opening of Muslim immigration making sense to make up for the 'lost numbers'. Right out of Ceausescu's book, who thought numbers make a country great, hence the virtually complete abortion ban. Luckily Easterners have been through the bad propaganda years of Communism, and may be immune to BBC.

  3. The very same free movement, which is bad for East Europe, allows you to write this, safely from Romania.

    How sick and arrogant a comment !

  4. On a point of information, I lived here for nine years before Romania joined the EU. In any case, why arrogant or sick?

    1. Why !?

      An immigrant coming from a country like England, that unparalleled grounded her wealth and dominance on emigration, expresses worries about how emigration will ruin Romania.

      Considering emigration as a plague which has to be contained, is quite bizarre a stance from a Briton, knowing how they spread for centuries all over the whole world and still do. Or is emigration bad only if Romanian ?

      How can an immigrant advocate for containing the free movement of others ? I cannot avoid being perplexed. If emigration has brought so much fame and power to Britain, why should it be so ruinous to Romania ? Why containing Romanian migration is “for their own good”, while British or any other Western migration is but a legitimate life choice ?

      There is here a clear case of double standards. I am far from being a supporter of Romanian migration, but just the simple fact that an immigrant coming from an immigrant nation suggests how helpful should be for the locals staying home, for their own good, strikes me as a logical and moral fracture.