- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- All Balkan Countries
It was never going to be the easiest of journeys, given that I had to wake up at three in the morning to make a dash for the airport.
My trip from Skopje to Prague didn’t get any easier after the airport, though. On a route that was once served by a single, direct flight, I had to make two stopovers.
And as I would find out in Prague, the air link is just one example of the growing gap between Macedonia and the rest of Europe.
I met several young people from the Balkans who have made their home in the Czech capital. They had come to the city in search of a better life, and by and large, they seem to have found it. I asked them why they had chosen Prague over places like Germany, Sweden or Belgium. They told me jobs were relatively easy to find. The quality of life, like the quality of the beer, was good.
“If you have the desire to work, you can succeed here,” said Bojan Manevski, a Macedonian citizen in his late twenties who moved to Prague six years ago. “The Czech people don’t discriminate against us.”
Back home, many of Bojan’s compatriots complain of nepotism and discrimination on the job market.
The Czech Republic seems to have cast off its Soviet past and adopted a western European outlook. The signs of foreign investment are everywhere.
While I was glad to see young migrants sharing in these opportunities, I was also sad that they had come so far from home to find them. Over the coming weeks, I shall be looking into the reasons behind this exodus.
Donors spent hundreds of thousands of euro building a new museum in Gjirokastra - but the results were questionable and it ultimately closed over an ideological dispute.