Migrants Leaving Bulgaria are Causing Their Own Country's Economy to SufferViews on BG | November 6, 2013, Wednesday // 11:28| views
British newspaper Daily Express recently launched a controversial campaign against Bulgarians and Romanians. File photo
The pressure for young ambitious Bulgarian and Romanian workers to migrate to Britain in the New Year increased today after the European Commission published pessimistic forecasts for significant sections of the two countries’ economies.
By Ted Jeory
The Daily Express
While Brussels is now more optimistic about the prospects for most of the EU, it believes Bulgaria is moving in the opposite direction.
It has slashed its growth forecast for this year to 0.5 per cent compared to the 1.4 per cent it predicted some 12 months ago.
And while Bulgaria’s unemployment is expected to fall, it will still stand at 12.4 per cent, with some 400,000 people out of work in the country whose population is seven million.
In its latest set of country bulletins for the EU, the Commission also points out that Bulgaria in particular faces a double whammy: the number of people emigrating abroad in search of jobs is affecting the spending in the domestic economy.
The Brussels report also raised serious concerns about the much larger Romania and its population of 21.9million people.
In its bulletin today, it said youth unemployment in Romania stood at a huge 23 per cent.
It said reforms of the labour market two years ago were producing results “albeit slowly”.
The two economies are plagued by corruption and are suffering from relatively low tax revenues contributing to significant public sector deficits.
Romania has better growth prospects the Commission believes, with Gross Domestic Product forecast to grow by 2.2 per cent this year, and by 2.1 and 2.4 per cent in 2014 and 2015.
However, Bulgaria is growing far more slowly, reaching 1.5 per cent next year and 1.8 per cent in 2015.
In its bulletin on Bulgaria today, the Commission said: “The recovery is expected to be relatively slow compared to many other converging economies, given that the significant population decline (due to ageing and emigration) continues to erode the growth potential and the consumption base.”
A Ukip spokesman said: "It is Bulgaria's tragedy that any possible recovery is being hamstrung by its membership of the EU.
"By providing the opportunity for people to move to the UK and elsewhere the EU undermines that which it pretends to care about.
"It's a lose-lose situation, both for the future of young job seekers in Britain and the economy of Bulgaria."
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