Economic Desperation Forces Kosovars To Flee

Growing desperation and technical changes to entry rules on Serbia’s border prompted tens of thousands of Kosovars to try to leave the former Serb province in late 2014, the Financial Times reported. Even as tighter controls have curbed the outflow from one of the continent’s poorest countries, the worsening economic situation that forced them to leave remains. Despite 15 years of western tutelage and billions of dollars in investment, many want to leave a country dominated by a small elite with close links to organised crime. “It’s clear why all of these people left — the economic and social conditions are bleak,” says Agron Demi, executive director of the GAP Institute, a Pristina think-tank. Many of Kosovo’s digitally-connected young people were tempted westwards by images of the good life in Germany, posted on social networks by friends and relatives. “Young people see these pictures of their friends in Vienna and they hear about the money they get and of course they want to leave,” Mr Demi said. Estimates vary, but Mr Demi believes that youth unemployment far exceeds official figures of 60 per cent. Read more. (Subscription required.)