What Kukes, one of the poorest cities in Albania, looks like, with young people fleeing en masse. The authorities are ready to pay people money to return
The Albanian city of Kukes has lost half of its population because young people are leaving en masse to work in the UK. UK taxpayers have allocated more than $10 million to solve the problem and restore the city, but this did not stop young Albanians.
Kukes is on the list of the poorest populated centers in Albania and is being destroyed. This was reported by the Daily Mail.
The UK government has recently allocated money for job creation and community projects in the region. The local mayor has launched a campaign to persuade citizens who have emigrated to return home.
The area was chosen for funding due to population loss: since 1990, young people have been paying smugglers to take them to the UK by boat and truck. Mass emigration has led to the region's capital, Kukes, and surrounding mountain villages being called "ghost towns" as many young people and families have left, leaving only elderly citizens.
The region in northeastern Albania near the border with Kosovo has the highest percentage of people living illegally in the UK or seeking asylum of any region in the former communist country.
The new mayor of Kukes has pledged to spend most of the British money on convincing people to return, offering tax rebates and grants to set up tourism-related businesses, which he believes is key to boosting the region's economy.
However, the investigation showed little impact on the teenagers: they still want to leave for Britain as soon as possible. The young people believe that it is there that they can easily find a job and earn much more than at home.
Official figures show that last year the number of Albanians seeking asylum in the UK increased to almost 16,000. British Home Secretary James Cleverly said last month that the number of Albanians detected on arrival in the UK had fallen by 90 percent.
This can be explained by the increased cooperation of the British with the Albanian authorities and the willingness to return those who do not have a legal right to stay. Such actions have made the UK a less attractive destination for emigration.
But young residents of Kukes insist that many people are still willing to risk their lives by venturing on the dangerous journey across the English Channel in open boats or by smuggling in trucks.
Earlier, OBOZ.UA told about how cities in Italy, Switzerland and other European countries appealed to foreigners with an attractive offer: 80 thousand euros for moving.