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news 01 Aug 13

Youth Emigration Causing Balkan ‘Brain Drain’

The problem of educated young people emigrating from Balkan countries has again been highlighted by a media report suggesting that the region is losing vital human resources.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Hundreds of thousands of young people aged between 25 and 35 have left Balkan countries over the past couple of decades in search of a better life abroad, said a report published by Turkey’s Anadolu news agency on Wednesday.

Around 300,000 educated young people have left Serbia in the past 25 years, the agency reported, based on information from the Belgrade authorities.

Meanwhile around 150,000 young people have left Bosnia and Herzegovina since the war ended in 1995, Anadolu reported.

Around 12,000 people between 25 and 35 leave Serbia every year, 10,000 leave Bosnia and 9,000 leave Croatia annually, the agency said.

“In the last few years the number of those who want to leave is increasing,” Croatian migration expert Silva Meznaric told Anadolu.

“Young people have realised that human resources are not valued in the Balkans and they want to organise their lives elsewhere,” Meznaric said.

The young people who leave are mostly those with diplomas in IT, engineers or doctors, and they mostly go to western Europe or the US, according to the report.

Anadolu also quoted estimates suggesting that around 150,000 young educated people have left Macedonia in the last 20 years.

“The main reason for educated people leaving is not unemployment, as people usually think, but to try to find themselves a decent job,” Meznaric said.

“Young people from the countries in the region want to go abroad in order to find jobs which will allow them to achieve their ambitions and plans. In the Balkans, they obviously cannot do that,” she added.

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