We need to do more in North Macedonia if we want to reduce the number of young people fleeing the country, I think we have no problem with creating strategies to solve this problem, but we are lagging behind in their implementation. This was stated by the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the news agency “Meta.mk” – Bojan Blaževski, speaking on the topic “Economic migration and brain drain” at the POINT conference (Political Accountability and New Technologies) which started yesterday in Sarajevo, writes Portalb.mk.
Referring to the latest Westminster study on North Macedonia, Blaževski said that for the third year in a row the results are the same, with 60% of young people wanting to go abroad if they can, 27% not wanting to return, and 37% not wanting to return they said there was very little chance of them returning if they went abroad.
“The main problem is that every citizen is important, and if they want to go abroad, that is a problem, today it is a problem to find a plumber in Skopje, because most of them went abroad, to Europe. I think we do not have a problem with the strategies, we can make strategies, but the activities proposed in the strategy are not always implemented,” Blaževski said.
He added that the country does not have a clear strategy for the future.
“Somehow, and this is my feeling only, we chase them, especially health workers, we try to increase wages or improve conditions, but you know that there is always a lack of resources, a lack of money. You can do that in a period of 4-5 months, but then the increase in doctors’ salaries is almost nothing because Germany can always give more,” Blaževski said.
He stressed that the country has a problem with the departure of medical staff, and citing the results of the research of the Medical Chamber of North Macedonia conducted in 2019, almost 12% of licensed doctors went abroad. The average age of these doctors is about 40 years, at a time when they can replace older doctors, they simply go abroad, for example to Germany.
Blaževski, among other things, noted that the problem with migration was highlighted by the census conducted last year which results are bad, with the state losing 9.2% of the population compared to the results twenty years ago in 2001.
“In fact, we have lost 185 thousand citizens, which is a lot for North Macedonia. This data may not be a big problem for larger countries, but if we take for example the number of citizens living in the second and third most populous city in the Republic of Macedonia after Skopje, practically these numbers are around 185 thousand. We have lost a lot of our population and I think this is a very big problem for the smaller countries. Especially for the intellectuals or those who work in the health sector. I would say that the average age of the population is about 40 years and we have 638 thousand citizens under the age of 29, which is about 34% of the total population,” Blaževski said.
Besides migrating abroad, Blaževski stressed that people from other cities in the country are moving to Skopje.
“Skopje has a record number of citizens, like never before. In the city, we have 526 thousand citizens, and with the suburbs, it is about 600 thousand which is a large number compared to the number from two decades ago. People not only go abroad, but also residents of smaller cities come to Skopje. Practically 1/3 of the population lives in Skopje and if we take the neighboring cities like Tetovo, Kumanovo and Veles, which are 50 kilometers away from Skopje, in this part of the country you have 850 thousand citizens,” Blaževski said.
Together with Blaževski, the same problem in their countries was pointed out by Jasmin Hasič – Professor of International Relations and Executive Director of Humanity in Action – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Andrea Micanovič – Analyst at the Center for Democracy and Human Rights – Montenegro; Gordana Radojevič – President of the Association of Statistics and Demographers – Montenegro.
You can watch the conference in the following video:
The members of the ACTION SEE network, of which the Metamorphosis Foundation is a part, organize the POINT conference.