At a press conference held today the President of the Economic and Social Council (ESC) Prof. Lalko Dulevski and the Vice-president of the ESC Dr. Konstantin Trenchev, emphasized the finding that as a result of the development of certain demographic processes evolution in our country over the last 3-4 decades there are objective challenges that can have certain negative impact on the economic growth, public finances, employment and other socio-economic parameters in the medium and especially in the long run.

In order to address this tendency it is necessary to make demographic development a prior national objective by creating a long-term strategy for the reproduction of the Bulgarian population and improving its quality characteristics which should be adopted by the National Assembly.

This is the main position of the Economic and Social Council expressed in the adopted Resolution on “Demographic Challenges to Bulgaria within the Europe 2020 Strategy”. ESC elaborated the document on its own initiative, as a natural continuation of ESC’s activity regarding the Europe 2020 Strategy and taking into account the disturbing trends that are contained in the preliminary data from the census made in February 2011 and published by the National Statistical Institute.

With deep concern ESC notes that the country’s population is one of the fastest declining in the European Union as for a quarter of century (from 1985 to 2011) it has decreased by 1,597,415 people or 17.9%.

Another finding to which the Council draws attention is that emigration from Bulgaria over the last decade has formed around one third of the negative population growth and the emigrants are mostly young highly educated people.

ESC examines with deep concern the assessment of the European Commission stating that long-term demographic trends will require additional spending of about 4.5% of GDP and that in Bulgaria this percentage might be higher. In this regard, ESC expresses its satisfaction with the inclusion in the NRP (2011-2015) of its proposed target – achieving by 2020 GDR PPP per capita amounting to 60% of the EU average. According to ESC, this will mobilize sufficient efforts, policies and measures for pre-emptive productivity growth in Bulgaria as compared to the EU average and will ensure the achievement of this goal.

ESC considers that the high level of morbidity, especially in relation to cardiovascular diseases, in the country is an alarming trend with particular impact on the increase in public expenditure on the health care system. In this regard, the ESC recommends an evaluation of the increased spending ratio for health and disability pensions, especially over the last decade, as a result of the ageing of the population as well as the impact of this process’ further development on its future change.

ESC believes that prophylaxis and prevention are the most important and reliable means of maintaining good health and achieving significant saving of public funds in the health care system and in related social activities.

The level of education and professional training are issues directly related to the economic growth and the public finances of the country. In this regard, ESC is concerned about the existing data showing the number of young people without no or very low level of literacy and without professional training. Early school leaving is a loss of public funds without providing any lasting results and deserves special attention because it corresponds to the achievement of the national target set in Europe 2020 – reducing the percentage of early school leavers to 11% by 2020. 

The Council draws attention to the fact that in 2009 in Bulgaria per 100 people with primary or lower education the number of those in risk of poverty was about twice higher than the average for the European Union. Under equal other conditions, this means twice higher pressure on public finances of the country compared to the average European trends.

ESC focuses on the level of education and the ageing of the workforce as major challenges for achieving the employment objectives set out in the National Reform Programme (2011-2015) (NRP) in implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy. 

ESC notes that the achievement of the NRP national goals in the area of education has direct impact on individual success and on the employment goals as well. However, it is noted that the current economic crisis results in substantial polarization in the employment rate of persons with basic level of education in the EU.

ESC indicates the ageing of the workforce as one of the major demographic challenges to the achievement of the stated employment and labor productivity objectives during the next 10 years.

In its Resolution ESC proposes the creation on the basis of sufficient social and political consensus of a long-term strategy for population reproduction and improving its quality characteristics and its subsequent adoption by the National Assembly. Thus, this strategy will become the fundamental strategic document for the development of the country which will integrate the objectives and priorities of other key sectoral strategies – healthcare, education, pensions, administration, etc.

In this regard, it is necessary, following the publication by the National Statistical Institute of all the information from the last census in Bulgaria, to prepare much more thorough and long-term assessments of the expected demographic trends and their expected future impacts.



is the “bridge” between citizens and the national government. Its mission is to support such “bridging” so as to facilitate the communication between the society and the national government. It is the new and modern institution of the civil dialogue.

The ESC's mission is to promote civil society organisations access to and involvement in the process of decision-making on strategic economic and social issues.

The main goal of ESC's operation is to enable different representatives of organised civil society to feel free to state their views whereas unanimity on matters of common interest is encouraged. The Council expresses and protects civil society interests by communicating agreed statements and proposals submitted by its members to the executive and legislative authorities.

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