Gerxhaliu: Not only the poor are leaving Kosovo; the greatest interest is in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany

Safet Grdžaljiu
Source: Kosovo Online

The abolition of the visa regime for citizens of Kosovo will lead to the migration of a significant portion of the population from Kosovo, according to economic expert Safet Gerxhaliu. He explains that people mainly migrate to Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, but there has recently also been a great interest in the United States, Australia, and Canada.

Gerxhaliu warns that due to the intense politicization, the Western Balkan states have become "runaway states," and the population is leaving not only from Kosovo but also from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, etc.

"I think this is a good message for the politicians of these states, to work more for the people and the countries than for power and political parties. Simply, the hope that a new perspective for a better tomorrow can emerge in this area is lost," Gerxhaliu said.

He emphasizes that citizens are not leaving solely due to a poor economic situation.

"The problem is that no one can guarantee political stability. In a country without political stability and in a region where political stability is unstable or not secure, there will certainly be fear, there will certainly be a crisis, and the question of 'what will happen tomorrow,' 'where tomorrow,' and 'how will it happen tomorrow' will be present," Gerxhaliu noted.

He adds that European countries are a real attraction for some citizens, and some individuals even decide to change continents.

"Not only the poor people are leaving Kosovo. Entire families are fleeing, even those with good salaries, because, simply, when you look at healthcare, when you look at education, you will try to find salvation somewhere else. Europe is a real attraction. We have the most diaspora in Switzerland, Germany, and Austria, but recently there has been a great interest among the citizens of Kosovo in the United States, Australia, and Canada. That is the biggest defeat that Kosovo experiences," Gerxhaliu emphasized.

So far, everyone who has left has had long-term plans, our interlocutor claims.

"After January 1st, there will certainly be great intentions or inertia to leave. However, Europe is not what it used to be, and there will certainly be those who will be somehow disappointed or forced to return," he said.

Gerxhaliu points out that new European laws in some countries enable obtaining work permits through an accelerated procedure.

"Perhaps that is the circumstance that motivates citizens. From January 1st, they will be able to travel freely as tourists, but many will certainly plan to stay and work abroad. It's sad, but it's the painful truth for all those who love the perspective, not only of Kosovo, not only of Serbia, but of the entire Balkans, and who wish for stability in these countries," Gerxhaliu said.

Experts and connoisseurs of economic conditions have proposed a strategy to motivate young people to stay in the country, however, Gerxhaliu emphasizes that the political agenda is the dominant factor.

"A strategy needs to be created on how to motivate the youth, to make good news become news, not just having bad news as news. It is necessary to motivate these young people to believe in the lost perspective, that it will return, but nothing will come of it because mainly in the Balkans, especially in Kosovo, the political agenda is what dominates, which creates all these guidelines, and from the dominance of the political agenda, fear grows, and hope for a better tomorrow is lost," Gerxhaliu concluded.