Tag Archives: children

The Bulgarian Problem of the European Union

The European Union has a big problem with Bulgaria, and may not know it. Here is why.

The purpose of the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS) is to investigate the ways in which young people are prepared to undertake their roles as citizens in a range of countries. The study includes all students enrolled in the grade that represents eight years of schooling, provided the mean age at the time of testing is at least 13.5 years. The results from the study are out, and they paint a bleak picture for Bulgaria.

But here I will focus on only one particular finding. Two thirds of eighth graders in Bulgaria may prefer to live permanently in another country. Two thirds of all young Bulgarians at the age of 13-14 that is.

Now, a lot can be said about the implications of this result for the overall demographic development in Bulgaria. The trouble is that even today Bulgaria is aging at a very fast pace. In fact UN data shows that in 2050 the overall dependency ration in Bulgaria will almost double from its 2010 levels. Population will decrease from 7,5 million to 5,4 million. But that is a conservative assessment based on current demographic trends and excluding serious migration movements out of the country. Yes, the intentions of 14-year olds are probably not the best indication of future demographic development, but they certainly give us a warning signal.

Let us not forget that only in a few years all labor restrictions for Bulgarians in the European Union will be lifted. Many EU countries are aging at a fast pace, and their labor markets will welcome Bulgarian migrants.

So far, so good. But these migrants will leave behind an almost dysfunctional pension system, a rapidly ageing society and bleak economic prospects for the young people remaining in Bulgaria. At that point Bulgaria can become a real problem for the European Union due to its failing budget, expansion of poverty (especially in old age groups and the Roma population), and not least – all kind of criminogenic social disturbances.

Obviously we cannot stop young Bulgarians from emigrating if they want to. What they need is sound education and good job prospects in Bulgaria. What they don’t need is escalating government costs, and hence – escalating taxes and social security contributions. Bulgaria finds it difficult at the moment to provide quality education to its children, and is, frankly speaking, quite incapable of developing a robust, sustainable economic system. That is why external help, and probably political pressure, are needed. The prospects for the Bulgarian economy are worsening by the day, and a lot must be done to convince our few children to stay at home.

No Cancer Drugs for Bulgarian Kids

I became recently aware of a really worrying problem: it appears that the Bulgarian National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) has stopped the delivery of some drugs against cancer for children under 18 years.

Let me repeat: we don’t deliver some drugs to the Bulgarian kids that have some forms of cancer. The reason for this situation is that at least two drugs (L-asparaginase and Purinethol) were not included in the positive drugs list of the NHIF for 2009 and 2010. The parents of affected children say that the drugs are essential in their kids’ overall therapy. Some of the parents are able to shop the drugs abroad, mainly from Greece and the UK.

A very simple question arises: what sort of a European Union Member State is Bulgaria, really??? How is it possible to leave the children without proper medication supply? Who will take the responsibility if the health of these children deteriorates further because of erratic treatment?

A lot can be said about the incapacity of the Bulgarian public administration to secure the rights of Bulgarian citizens. But can we try a little harder AT LEAST for the kids???