Plans and proposals are being floated by local authorities to attract young people to live in the 32 villages of the mountainous Agrafa region in Central Greece, which has the oldest population in Europe.
The permanent population of the municipality of Agrafa numbers 5,984, down from 6,976 in 2011.
The municipality plans to offer 3,000 euros from the beginning of next year to all permanent residents (existing and aspiring) who have a baby while living there.
The municipality already gives 1,500 euros to each family that has a new baby. This amount is independent of the corresponding budget provided by the central government. At the same time, the municipality will cover the costs in case of artificial insemination as well as the costs of childbirth.
The mayor of Agrafa, Alexandros Kardampikis, who was re-elected in the recent municipal elections, was in Athens on Wednesday and Thursday and met with members of the government in a bid to find ways to make the ideas for population growth a reality.
“Verbally, our positions are always accepted, but when we get into the thick of it, the problems start,” he says.
However, no one expects anyone to move to Agrafa just because of this allowance. The most important thing is that there are job prospects and that people feel they have direct access to healthcare.
Indicatively, a 2016 study conducted about the problems in primary healthcare showed that 53.75% of the population of Agrafa were seniors, 5.14% of whom were chronically ill.
Moreover 87.5% of ordinary cases are treated at the health center, which is on average one hour and 15 minutes away from the local communities.
A system of health monitoring and preventive examinations for the municipality’s residents is being developed and will be implemented in the near future. An ambulance acquired by the municipality and sponsored by a doctor and nurse will visit the villages and conduct examinations on the residents.
This article was previously published at ekathimerini.com.