Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bulgaria's Pensioners Risk Poverty

from Sofia Echo

The risk of poverty among people above 65 years was 18 per cent, while for those over 75 it was 27.4 per cent, Labour and Social Policy Ministry Expert Dragomir Draganov said at a conference on the ageing population.

In comparison, in 2005, the risk for people aged over 65 was 17.5 per cent and for those over 75, 20.3 per cent.

Meglena Vesselinova from the Ministry said that a quarter of Bulgaria's pensioners were over 75-years-old. Effective care for the ageing population of the country was needed, she said. In 2008, nearly two billion leva would be allocated from the state budget to cover shortages in state public insurance.

Bulgarian Red Cross head Hristo Grigorov said there were 2.5 million pensioners in Bulgaria, most of them lived under the existence minimum and needed help.

Andrew Humphreys, expert in the HelpAge International organisation, said that the quick ageing of the population was a general problem in the EU. Most of the EU population was aged between 45 and 65. The longer life-expectancy was something that people should be proud of, but it made them face new challenges, he said. Ageing would disappear as a phenomenon, but it would take years.

Until 2050, the number of people between 70 and 80 years-old in the EU would grow and pensioners would make up 30 per cent of society, Humphreys said.

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