Young people are leaving, fertility rates have collapsed, its people are ageing and, even though hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants have tramped through them, none want to stay in the Balkans.
Borders, ethnic spats, EU accession, joining NATO, unfinished business from the wars of the 1990s and the return of geopolitics are the stories that fill the news. But serious analysis of the region’s demographic decline, depopulation and the hollowing out of the labour force is harder to find. Possibly this is because governments have neither credible answers nor the resources available to change things. If demography is destiny, the Balkan future is bleak, but it is not unique. From Greece to Moldova almost all eastern, central and south-east European countries are wrestling with the same problems.
Full article coming 7 October 2019
Tim Judah is a journalist and author. He is a correspondent for The Economist. He covers the Balkans for them, and other areas too. He has worked for many major publications and broadcasters. He has written wartime reportage from Afghanistan to Ukraine for the New York Review of Books. Recent work has appeared in the Financial Times Magazine and in 2018 he undertook a major investigative project for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He is the author of three books on the Balkans: The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia, Kosovo: War & Revenge and Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know. In 2016 his book In Wartime: Stories from Ukraine was published. In 2009 he was a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at LSEE, the South-Eastern-Europe research unit of the European Institute at the London School of Economics, where he developed the concept of the “Yugosphere”. He is the president of the Board of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and a member of the board of the Kosovar Stability Initiative (IKS). In 2008 he published a book for Reportage Press Bikila: Ethiopia’s Barefoot Olympian which is about the life and times of the first black African to win a gold medal at the Olympics in Rome 1960. He was shortlisted for this in the best new sportswriter category for the 2009 British Sports Book Awards.