The Croatian Type Post-Accession Emigration Already Hits the Western Balkans – Demographic Implications of the Region’s Expected Accession to the EU

Vladimir Nikitovic , Institute of Social Sciences, Belgrade
Sanja Klempic Bogadi, Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, Croatia

The countries of the Western Balkans are still differentiated from one another in terms of the change in population size and demographic aging despite the convergence in fertility patterns that has been observed during this century. On the other hand, the whole region is dominantly emigrational since the 1990s, whereas both populations in Albania and Kosovo are particularly affected by out-migration. The European Union strategy on the future enlargement towards Western Balkans assumes that all the populations from the region will join the Union sooner or later. However, recent post-accession out-migration from Croatia, which was considered as the member of the region until 2013, suggests that already high levels of emigration in potential member countries might become even higher after the accession to the EU, or at least last longer than was the case with the post-communist countries during previous enlargements. In order to assess demographic implications of the EU accession scenario, we made population projections for all the countries in the region by 2055 in the probabilistic manner. We employed the global projection model by the UN (WPP2019) to account for the regional correlations regarding the natural components of population change, while assumed a specific international migration pattern grounded in the migration cycle concept and tailored by the Croatian out-migration experience after 2013. The simulations of future population dynamics in the Western Balkans suggest that transformation of its current international migration pattern is of crucial importance in achieving the sustainable development goals related to demographic change in the region.

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy