The portrait of a country whose brain is leaving

The portrait of a country whose brain is leaving

This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.afp.al

By Sonila Meço

Albania is slowly losing its historical memory along with its people. 330 thousand Albanians have left the country in the past 7 years, the country’s agency of statistics INSTAT reports. It would be the same as if a large city and its surroundings were to leave Albania. 40 thousand people have left in 2017 alone.

Today, Albania is an abandoned country.

In a year, the population of Albania has shrank by 0,2% due to emigration and low birth rate. More people are leaving the country than coming here.

Albania is a country with a population which is shrinking.

A few days ago, the EU signed with Albania an agreement for the protection of the EU borders from illegal emigrants and Albanian organized crime. A police force called FRONTEX will patrol our coasts in an effort to cut down the number of those people who abuse with the liberalization of the visa regime.

Today Albania is a country under observation and isolated.

Albanians continue to be a cause for concern in terms of the high number of asylum applications in the European Union. According to the latest figures provided by Eurostat, from 2015 until 2017, 132 Albanian nationals have applied for asylum in the EU member countries, but, on the other hand, thousands of others have left the country on work contracts, to study abroad, through the US lottery, through emigration to Canada or by joining their relatives abroad. Holland and France continue to remind us the return of the visa regime for Albania as the only possibility of stopping the large number of asylum seekers and the rising criminality.

Albania exports statistics war statistics.

In the past four years, Albania has been considered as the main country of origin in Europe in terms of the high number of asylum seekers. But, the small country with 2.7 million people also breaks a record for the number of unaccompanied minors exported to Europe. Data provided by BIRN show that thousands of minors from the age of 7 to the age of 17 have embarked on dangerous travels with the hope of finding a better future as unaccompanied asylum seekers in Europe.

Albania is the country which is unable to protect its own minors.

According to the Order of Doctors, in the past three years,  more than 600 doctors have left the country. And this happens at a time when a doctor’s formation requires at least 20 years and this makes it very difficult to replace them. District hospitals have remained without doctors and there are short of staff.

Statistics show the damage being caused to the health of the Albanian people.

Albania is a country where people’s health is in the hands of God.

According to a survey conducted by the Balkan Barometer, 50% of respondents in 2017 have answered that they are planning to leave the country. In 2016, 48% of respondents had claimed that they were considering the idea of leaving the country. The majority part consisted of youngsters.

Albania is a country which is ageing fast.

In its latest study on the effects of emigration in the Balkan economy, IMF came to the conclusion that GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of Albania has lost 18% in the past two decades as a result of the massive departures of the country’s brain.

Albania is a country whose brain is leaving.

Albania is the country of the 1 billion USD project, of the public-private partnership schemes, which up until today, have had a big cost for the pockets of Albanian people. In a recent report, the International Monetary Fund recommends Albania to give up on the 1 billion USD project for the construction of roads, because this increases its debts significantly, although its debt is very high. Data from the European Institute of Statistics indicate that Albania is the country with the highest debt in Europe as a result of the Public-Private Partnership. All the countries of the European Union have PPP contracts which do not exceed the level of 3% of the Gross Domestic product, while in Albania, this figure is higher and is growing fast due to the concessionary contracts. According to Open Data Albania, for 2018, PPPS will have a cost of around 70 million euros for Albanian people. And this is a heavy burden on Albanian taxpayers, although the government doesn’t say it.

This is only a picture of the latest developments, without going too deep into the panorama of landscapes which lead in other scary places of Albania that we want to see. However, none of our leaders would accept this portrait, so let them consider it as a photography. And every photo is a self-portrait.

Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy