ATHENS – A near decade-long economic and austerity crisis, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic is seeking Greece’s population continue to decline, with more deaths than births, a trend expected to worsen over the next 20 years.
Analysts said that was exacerbated by the exodus of more than 450,000 working-class people who gave up trying to find work during the crisis and moved elsewhere, most saying they would never return.
Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis is trying to lure them back with a range of lures but predictions continue that the population will keep falling, putting a strain on the social security system.
Researchers and scientists at a conference on demographic trends organized by the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (HFRI) at the French Institute in Athens said the government has to react.
“Those who are in favor of population growth cannot be against migration,” said Christos Bagavos, a Professor at Panteion University. “The demographic crisis is not a matter of low fertility, but of the number of people who are of reproductive age,” he said, referring to the drop in women aged 15-49.
He was also referring to Greece, which has been holding up to 100,000 refugees and migrants, now pledging to keep out anyone who tries to enter the country, Turkey allowing human traffickers to keep sending them.
That violates an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal with the European Union under which Turkey, holding 4.4 million people who fled war and economic hardship in their countries, is supposed to contain them in return for money, visa-free travel for Turkish citizens in the EU and a faster track into the bloc.