It's a curious little story that won't get much attention in the German press.
Every night in Pristina, Urosevac, and Gnjilane, Kosovo (a country of six million residents)....there are roughly ten buses that leave for France, Germany, Italy and Netherlands. Every seat is full, and the folks on board....don't intend to just visit or tour Dusseldorf for a weekend.....they intend to stay in Germany.
What the Kosovo authorities will say is that it's now a noticeable thing....kids were in school last week....withdrawn from the class this week....and then disappear with the family. Classes are smaller and everyone is starting to question the numbers.
News reporters tend to say that between 20,000 and 30,000 Kosovo residents are leaving. No one in Germany is saying much over the numbers that come to Germany. The best that folks can say is that this trend started in the spring of 2014 with increased numbers. There were always a couple hundred folks leaving, but since the economy of Kosovo slowed down drastically.....everyone talks now of packing up and leaving.
The UN says (you can't be sure of the accuracy of this).....that unemployment in Kosovo is now roughly thirty-five percent. Around one-third of the country lives in poverty.....by current statistics that Kosovo themselves provide.
All of this has lead to a German government "emergency". What the Germans are saying currently is that they've decided to prioritize the asylum requests of Kosovo residents arriving in Germany to the very top....ahead of everyone else. Their intention (as Deutsche Welle reports).....is to determine a status in ten days, and the bulk are going to be turned down (at least currently).
Oddly, by the Geneva Convention.....poverty is not listed as one of those reasons that you have to hand out an approved visa deal to anyone. So, you'd have to claim unfairness, discrimination, or some war....just to get some type of approval to stay in Germany.
Some folks have done the math, and suggest that if 30,000 people a month are leaving Kosovo....then there's already 200,000 Kosovo residents from 2013....who are in some other European country. And if you took the math and suggested a continuing trend of 30,000 a month for 2015....you might have near half-a-million residents gone, from a 2010 population of six million.
I sat down and did a twenty-minute read over Kosovo's economy. It's not exactly robust, nor ever has had much of a growth period. What they mostly sell today? Leather products, some machinery and appliances, tobacco, vegetables and fruits, textile products, and processed metal items. For 2013, they did around $400 million in total export. Italy is their biggest trading partner....taking up roughly a quarter of all exports leaving the country. All of this leads to a GDP position of $13.5 billion....which ranks them around 143rd in the world (2012), with Haiti and Niger both doing better than Kosovo (that's pretty bad, if you ask any economics expert).
Sadly, if you didn't have the Greek episode brewing and all this Russia-Ukraine mess....some EU folks could have time and enthusiasm to plan around Kosovo....giving some European countries incentives to plant smaller companies there....build up a better road and rail network....and give the general guy on the street a chance of a better income level. You could easily put in a manufacturing company.....pay Kosovo employees half of what a guy requires in France or Austria, and jump-start the Kosovo economy....bringing unemployment down from thirty-five percent to eight-percent in a very short period of time.
Yeah, it's a curious story, which ARD or any of the German news services could dig into....make some folks interested in infrastructure and investing into Kosovo, and turn a pretty negative story over time into a positive story......if they'd just focus on some of the aspects of the whole picture. Instead, they will make it a negative immigration story....and we all know where that leads onto.