The European Commission's forecast of a dramatic decline in Lithuania's population is based on wrong and too short historical data, Swedbank Lithuania's chief economist said on Wednesday.
© DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

"The Commission projects that net emigration from Lithuania will reach an average of 30,600 people annually in the coming 15 years. This projection is based on statistics for 2010-2011, when 116,000 people emigrated in two years. However, many of these emigrants had left Lithuania before, but they declared their emigration to the authorities only when it became obligatory for unemployed persons to pay the compulsory social insurance tax," Nerijus Mačiulis told BNS.

Net emigration from Lithuania decreased to 17,000 people in 2013 and fell further to 12,000 last year, the economist said.

"At the same time, a rapid growth in immigration was observed. Immigration increased fourfold last year compared with 2010, and these are mostly returning Lithuanians. By ignoring these facts, the Commission wrongly wrote off 250,000 people, whom Lithuania is expected to lose by 2060," he said.

According to the Commission's report published on Tuesday, the Lithuanian population is forecast to decline by 38 percent - the fastest rate in the EU - to 1.8 million by 2060.

The Lithuanian population currently stands at 2.908 million, based on data from the country's statistics office.

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