Rumen Radev: Overcoming the Demographic Crisis in Bulgaria Is Impossible without Curbing Corruption and Building Institutions Capable of Upholding the Rule of Law and Justice
Head of state participates in the Demographic Summit in Budapest
Overcoming the demographic crisis in Bulgaria requires curbing corruption and building institutions capable of upholding the rule of law and justice. This is an indispensable basis for the positive and sustainable development of any society. This is what President Rumen Radev said at the 5th Demographic Summit in Budapest, themed "Family: The Key to Security". He attended the Summit at the invitation of Hungarian President Katalin Nowak. The Bulgarian head of state highly appreciated Hungary's consistent policy of supporting young families and promoting birth rates, which in the long term has the potential to tackle the negative demographic trends typical of European countries.
People are the most valuable capital of any country and whatever financial, green and digital policies we propose and develop, they should be subordinated to the understanding that it is demographic processes that determine the future of societies, Radev stressed. That is why, in the President's words, any demographic policy should support young people to start families and have children, at the same time as their professional and social affirmation.
The head of state stressed that two opposing demographic trends were taking place in the world - that of rapid population growth in a number of developing countries, which have a high percentage of young people and a high birth rate, and that of much lower birth rates and an ageing population in developed countries. Europe is facing an unprecedented demographic situation, which raises many questions for its economic and social systems and in terms of security, Rumen Radev said. He added that this demographic trend confronted the Old Continent with a huge migration pressure and challenges to European societies to preserve their Christian traditions and culture, for which Europe still seems unprepared.
The levels of fertility, mortality and emigration are the main factors that measure the demographic processes, but they are directly dependent on a number of political, economic and social factors and they should also be taken into account when drafting demographic policies, Radev added. He pointed to the example of this country, where the population has decreased by 850,000 people in the last 10 years, which is the most severe population decline in Bulgaria's modern history. However, in terms of birth and death rates, this country is in line with the European average, but the huge difference between Bulgaria and other European countries is the level of emigration. Unlike Bulgaria, other EU member states not only have very low levels of emigration, but also attract many young people from Bulgaria and Eastern European countries, which further worsens their fertility rates.
This is a double loss for Bulgaria because this country has invested in the education of these young people and instead of them investing their knowledge and skills in Bulgaria, they contribute to the development of other countries that are not only richer but also more efficient, Rumen Radev said.
The President highlighted the adaptation of financial incentives for raising children, support for young families with reproductive problems, support for single parents, free kindergartens, tax breaks for large families with responsible parenthood and others as factors to counter the demographic crisis.
In his speech at the forum, the President stressed that many of the young people in this country attribute the reason for their choice to develop professionally and start their families abroad not only to the higher financial rewards, but to the functioning of the rule of law and the protection of justice, the good work of the social and health systems and the societies based on clear rules and responsibilities. The head of state said that he was optimistic about the future of Bulgaria, a country with a rich history and cultural traditions, which could succeed in breaking the adverse demographic trends by building a fairer society and responsible institutions, which will create much more favourable conditions for the return of many of the young Bulgarians who live abroad today.
At the start of the high-level session, world-renowned clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson highlighted the fundamental role of the family in both the personal and values growth of parents and in the transmission of their experiences, morals and values to their children. Peterson stressed that the conscious choice of individuals to take responsibility for creating a family and dedicating themselves to the upbringing of children contributes to the formation of societies based on sound moral values and the reproduction of cultural models that can withstand contemporary challenges. As such, Jordan Peterson highlighted attempts to absolutize individualism and impose the notion that a society can exist without moral and ethical norms and have relationships devoid of responsibility and respect for family, children and community.