Friday, February 20, 2015

Thaci explains why Albanians are leaving Kosovo

BERLIN -- Hashim Thaci says that thousands of citizens from Kosovo have flocked to the West "because of rumors Germany was generously handing out work permits."
(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)
The Kosovo foreign minister spoke for the German conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and was asked why "Kosovo citizens are leaving their homeland."
Thaci answered that this was due to "strange rumors" that Germany was generously handing out work and residence permits, reported Deutsche Welle.

"It's absurd, but it led to more people illegally traveling to Germany. Even some media in Kosovo in January published stories about people who in Germany apparently received apartments and work permits. Some, otherwise serious commentators argue that the states of Western Europe, due to the negative birth rate, are now inviting Kosovars to immigrate. This is not true, but it was the motive for the people to move," said Thaci.

The daily then asked was the thinking in Pristina about a discussion in Germany to place Kosovo, like Bosnia, Serbia and Macedonia, on a list of "safe countries."

"Kosovo is safe. Pristina has lower crime rate than most German cities. Germany would do well if it declared Kosovo a safe country of origin. However, Kosovars should be able to legally travel to Germany. Young people are frustrated. They are an hour's plane flight away from Germany, but cannot visit Berlin, to attend a concert or as exchange students," explained Thaci.

"The EU has liberalized its visa regime with countries like Colombia and Moldova. It's not fair they did not do so in the case of Kosovo," he said, according to Deutsche Welle.

Meanwhile, Serbian, Austrian and Hungarian officials have said that the recent wave of migration of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo has considerably abated.

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