Bursting Migration Myths

In the period 1989–2017, Latvia haemorrhaged 27 per cent of its population, Lithuania 22.5 per cent, Bulgaria almost 21 per cent. Two million East Germans, or almost 14 per cent of the country’s pre-1989 inhabitants, went to West Germany in search of work and a better life. 3.4 million Romanians, a vast majority of them younger than forty, left the country only after the country joined the EU in 2007. The combination of an ageing population, low birth rates and an unending stream of emigration is arguably the principal source of demographic panic in Central and Eastern Europe.This fear of nation-killing depopulation is seldom openly voiced, perhaps because publicizing high rates of expatriation will encourage imitators. But it is nonetheless real and may well be expressed indirectly in the nonsensical claim that migrants from Africa and the Middle East pose a threat to the existence of the nations of the region. According to UN projections, Bulgaria’s population will shrink by 27 per cent between now and 2040. Almost one-fifth of the territory of the country is predicted to become a ‘demographic desert’. Indeed, ‘Bulgaria experienced the largest percentage drop in population not attributable to war or famine for a country in the modern era. Every day, the country was losing 164 people: over a thousand a week, over 50,000 a year.More Central and East Europeans left their countries for Western Europe as a result of the 2008–9 financial crises than all the refugees that came there as the result of the war in Syria.

from the book, ‘The Light That Failed’

It is necessary to kill a few xenophobic myths.

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