The demographic collapse in Greece is becoming an “existential threat” to the future of the nation, PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis warned on Tuesday.
In his address to the conference “Demographics 2023, Time for Action”, Mitsotakis pointed out that the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) had recently “sounded perhaps the loudest alarm” about the demographic trends in Greece.
The country recorded just one birth for every two deaths in 2022, talking of a negative balance that has been escalating for half a century.
“The pandemic certainly played its role, but we have to look at the long-term trends and these are extremely worrying,” Mitsotakis said.
The conference, Mitsotakis noted, “comes to examine a national danger which is rapidly unfolding, a danger which, however, must not become the status quo.” He added that this is a problem that concerns the West, almost all developed societies, and is connected to the modern way of life.
The Greek premier noted that today Greeks are among the most elderly in Europe. In the last five years, Greek women aged 20-40 have decreased by 150,000 as a result of a decline in births that actually started in the 80s.
He emphasized that the population decline is not manifested equally throughout the country.
“It has peaks in specific areas and this means that national strategies are not sufficient and that specific local provisions are also needed, with the overall demographic collapse literally becoming an existential bet for our future.”
“No magic solutions” for the demographic collapse in Greece
The prime minister emphasized that there are no magic solutions or options that can bring immediate results.
He noted that demography implies a long-term and often uneven effort and, “of course, it requires many allies, from the state and businesses to the citizens themselves because they too obviously participate in the developments as carriers of specific perceptions and behaviors.”
“We must not forget that throughout the world we are now at the edge of the so-called second demographic transition,” he pointed out.
He also spoke about the need to harmonize professional life with family life, taking care of public health so that the elderly remain active and creating many good jobs for young people with the goal of being able to build their lives in their country with good prospects.
Looking for solutions, experts point to countries such as Sweden and France. These countries have successfully boosted their fertility rates by implementing measures to support young couples socially, professionally, and economically. This includes flexible parental leave and financial incentives for having children.
In response to the demographic crisis, the National Center for Social Research (EKKE) has proposed various measures.
They include strengthening child allowances, providing premiums for mothers under thirty, and encouraging the active participation of fathers in childcare. Additionally, experts propose expanding childcare facilities and introducing the concept of assistant mothers.