Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Global Economic Crisis Starts Hitting Kosovo

When, not if, the effects of the global economic meltdown would hit Kosovo has been a topic for discussion since headlining across the rest of Europe and the US.  Many believed that the summertime was when the real effects would show when migrant workers started returned from abroad and possibly fail to secure visas to return abroad for work due to demand for jobs.  However, it seems that already Kosovo is beginning to feel the economic pinch with remittances from abroad starting to drop.

When first arriving in Kosovo some eight years ago I joined the group that wondered why there were so many Western Union offices in such a poor place.  The answer was found in that the mass exodus from Kosovo during the fighting left many people in Western Europe who were able to secure work and support their non-working families in Kosovo.  Just like migrant workers from Mexico in the US, Kosovars go abroad in Europe and send a good portion of their wages back to Kosovo to their families accounting for a substantial portion of Kosovo’s income.  With unemployment still at approximately 40-50%, hard times are likely to soon fall upon Kosovo unless the government finds a way to pull a white rabbit out of its hat.