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The journey out of Kosovo

Friday, February 13, 2015 - 01:47

Thousands of Kosovo residents leave the poor Balkan country for the European Union, crossing the border between Serbia and Hungary. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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Chaotic scenes in Pristina as people flock to buses to escape Kosovo. These people are hoping to head to Belgrade and from there, Western Europe. There is nothing easy about the journey. But its a path followed by more and more people hoping to escape poverty. Almost four thousand Kosovo residents sought asylum in Hungary last month alone -- that compares with some six thousand in the whole of 2013. The spike coincides with an EU-brokered relaxation of rules in Serbia, which now accepts identification papers issued by Kosovo, a former Serbian republic that declared independence but is not recognized as sovereign by Serbia. Kosovars can enter Serbia without a passport and are then they are just one border away from the EU. The economy at home is not big enough to absorb the thousands of jobseekers entering the workforce every year in what is Europe's youngest society. One third of the workforce is unemployed. Kosovo declared independence in 2008 and is recognized by more than 100 countries. But Serbia's refusal - backed by U.N. veto-holder Russia - to do so has impeded Kosovo's international integration along with its economic development.

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The journey out of Kosovo

Friday, February 13, 2015 - 01:47