Alcino (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Ivan Krastev, chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria, notes that economic austerity is driving away his country’s best and brightest.

He writes at The Guardian:

Mass emigration of people mostly aged between 25 and 50 has dramatically hurt the Bulgarian economy and its political system. Businesses complain about a shortage of qualified labour. Bulgaria’s health system is deprived of well-trained nurses who can earn several times more by taking care of a family in London than working at a low-paid local hospital. Most of our best graduates do not apply to study at Bulgarian universities, thus depriving them of talent: after the Chinese, Bulgarians are now the second biggest foreign student community in Germany. And although most of those who leave plan to come back, completing that plan often proves more difficult. People who leave their home country early in their lives are less likely to have social networks that would lure them back home again. And if they do come back, they often find their welcome to be less enthusiastic than expected: out of sight is out of mind. In Bulgaria, returning home is still often associated with failure to make it big in the wider world. …

… You only have to read the blogs and Facebook posts of many Bulgarians living abroad [to] see once experience-hungry east European immigrants transform into anti-immigrant xenophobes when it comes to how Bulgaria should deal with foreigners.

At worst you could argue that mass emigration is one of the main reasons why Bulgaria has been governed by the wrong people in recent years. Brilliantly talented individuals have undoubtedly benefited from the opening of borders, but so have at least two other groups: bad eastern European politicians and xenophobic western European parties.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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