As emigration pressures are likely to persist, CESEE countries will continue to face significant challenges, with some SEE and Baltic economies facing larger emigration pressures than other countries in the region.The IMF analysis Emigration and its Economic Impact on Eastern Europe highlights some of the issues that CESEE policymakers need to pay greater attention to so as to assess the effects of emigration on their economies. The report also discusses how the EU, as a beneficiary of CESEE emigration, could support the efforts of CESEE countries in mitigating the negative effects of emigration on these countries’ economic potential and convergence prospects.
During the past 25 years, nearly 20 million people (5½ percent of the CESEE population) are estimated to have left the region.
Between 1990 and 2012, outward migration from SEE shaved off more than 8 percentage points from cumulative population growth. While these trends were partly offset by strong population growth in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovak Republic, and Slovenia) and SEE countries, emigration has aggravated already pronounced negative demographic trends in the Baltics and some Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries.
Every 8 in 10 CESEE migrants go to Western Europe, with Germany, Italy, and Spain receiving the bulk (nearly one-half). Outside of Europe, the United States is the main destination of CESEE emigrants, receiving about 1 in 10 emigrants. Intra-regional migration in CESEE has been significant as well. Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovenia registered positive net cumulative migration.
The analysis suggests that the quality of institutions matters more for skilled migrants, whereas unskilled migrants appear to be attracted by more generous social benefits in the receiving countries. As of 2010, the share of emigrants from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, and Poland with tertiary education was well above the equivalent ratio in the general population and has been increasing over time.
Model simulations show that continued net migration flows during 2015–30, consistent with Eurostat and UN projections would reduce the level of real GDP as well as GDP per capita across all net sending countries. The cumulative output loss may be as large as close to 9 percent (not the case of the Czech Republic). As for the Czech Republic, the impact on the country's real GDP by 2030 should be positive, the report says.
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