Migration from Serbia, even with a relatively high gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of around four percent, is likely to increase unless the Serbian government takes effective measures to prevent it”, the Fiscal Council said in a detailed analysis of East to West Europe: Can Serbia Resist Winds”?
The analysis shows that in the next five years (2021-2025), Serbia could leave from 1.2 percent to 1.3 percent of working-age population annually, and now emigration is about one percent.
This assessment could easily prove conservative, as in many EU countries it is announced the accelerated liberalization of employment of skilled labor from countries outside the Union.
“The growing trend of emigration from Serbia can be stopped and reversed in the next five years, but it will need to be successful in implementing comprehensive reforms that the Government has been failing to implement for years”, the Fiscal Council said.
Strengthening institutions, combating corruption, improving the rule of law while improving the quality of public services (health care reforms, education and more) could halt the further increase of emigration, or reduce it by 10 percent to 15 percent over their next level over the next five years.
“The expectation that a faster increase in wages in Serbia will significantly reduce, or even solve the problem of emigration, is not justified empirically”, the Fiscal Council said.
It is pointed out that even a hypothetical increase in the average salary to 900 euros by the end of 2025 could not prevent further increases in emigration from Serbia in the coming years, but only slightly to moderate the trend of their future growth.
This result should not come as much of a surprise, since countries that have already experienced similar wage growth in the past, like Romania, have not solved the problem of population emigration, but have become even larger.
The huge emigration of young and educated population to developed countries of Western Europe will probably be the biggest economic and fiscal problem in most of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), including Serbia, in the coming decade, the Fiscal Council estimated.
Migrations from CEE to Western Europe have increased strongly with age, although there has been a marked improvement in the standard of living in CEE in recent decades.
The average GDP per capita in CEE was only 38 percent in Western Europe in 2000, but then emigration was three times less than in 2017 when GDP per capita reached 60 percent in Western Europe, they said from the Fiscal Council, Beta reports.