Bucharest--Romania has to take urgent measures to deal with its low birth rate and continuous emigration, if it is to avoid a demographic crisis, Romanian President Traian Basescu said on Tuesday.
"In the last 17 years, the population of Romania decreased by 1.4 million people, so the government has to find the right solution to encourage women to give birth to at least two children", Basescu said during a round table conference devoted to demographic issues.
With more than 21 million inhabitants, Romania has the second highest population among the 17 countries of central and south-eastern Europe that have either become members of the EU or are formally seeking to join it.
It is second only to Poland in population size, and has more than twice as many inhabitants as any of the other countries in the region.
But demographers say the combination of the slow-down in the birthrate, an ageing population and continued emigration could push Romania into a severe economic crisis within the next few decades.