Balkan Study Center of the International University of Sarajevo organized a Youth Panel on Tuesday, November 23, entitled “The Western Balkans Demographic Crisis: The Youth Perception about the White Plague and the Mass Exodus.” In the eve of the National Statehood Day of Bosnia and Herzegovina, students of the International Relations, International Business and Finance, Political Science and English Language and Literature study programs took to the stage to discuss and present a very current issue in the country and the region – mass exodus of youth from BiH and its impacts on the country and its society.
The panellists presented the current demographic trends for the Western Balkans indicating that the negative trends are present region-wide due to the immigration flows towards the European Union and low fertility rates in general. They underlined that only in the last five years, 5.6% of the overall population immigrated from the Western Balkans while 62% of youth from BiH currently strive to leave the country. Some of the main reasons that is making the young population leave BiH is political insecurity, unemployment, corruption, bribery and the educational system in state institutions which are not preparing students for real-life experiences.
Commenting on the need to take emergency measures and rapid action against such trends which can seriously impact all spheres of life and cause further downfall to the BiH economy, the speakers stressed that despite the lack of state-lead programs, there are activities and initiatives on cantonal and entity levels such as subsidies for agriculture, property purchase for young couples and parents with newborns. They welcomed such initiatives but highlighted that much more needs to be done if BiH wishes to stop the negative demographic plunge and retain its youth.