Arab Today, arab today ghost villages haunt slovakias economic success
Last Updated : GMT 00:00:12
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Ghost villages haunt Slovakia's economic success

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Ghost villages haunt Slovakia's economic success

Slovakia has been a star performer in Central Europe
Harakovce - AFP

Slovakia has been a star performer in Central Europe with a boom in car manufacturing driving brisk economic growth, but ghost villages haunt the countryside as people leave in search of jobs.

A white church has watched over Harakovce since villagers erected it in the century after the Black Death swept across Europe.

This village nestled among rolling hills dotted with forests and fields in this pastoral corner of eastern Slovakia has survived countless wars, but is now losing the battle as city jobs drain it of its lifeblood.

Today there are only six children among its 59 residents. Harakovce is far from unique.

Until recently, around 40 percent of Slovaks lived in villages of less than 1,000 people but statistics show the number is dwindling fast.

Near the Polish border in the east of the country, the village of Havranec had 386 people in 1980 but today it is down to eight.

The same has happened in countless villages across the country of 5.4 million people, especially in its poorer east.

Harakovce was even at risk of having no one stand for mayor, which pays a salary of 220 euros ($240) per month, just a quarter of the national average.

Then 27-year-old social worker Bozena Meliskova returned home after working nearly a decade in the Czech capital Prague, when she couldn't find a new job.

Meliskova is running to replace her mother who can't stand for re-election as she found work in a neighbouring village.

"I want to help improve life in our village," Meliskova told AFP.

The question is how.

Slovakia, a member of the EU and eurozone, has been very successful in luring the likes of Germany's Volkswagen, France's PSA Peugeot Citroen and South Korea's Kia to assemble cars, creating thousands of jobs.

Its combination of relatively low wages and taxes has also lured South Korea's Samsung and the Taiwanese group Foxconn.

These jobs helped Slovak wages rise by 20 percent between 2008 and 2012 despite the global economic and eurozone crises. Wages in the eurozone overall rose by only 10 percent, according to Eurostat data.

But those jobs, mostly concentrated around the capital Bratislava and Kosice, an eastern steel hub, have also helped lure people from the countryside, as has free movement within the EU.

Since EU entry in 2004, at least 120,000 mostly young Slovaks have taken advantage of the freedom to work elsewhere in the bloc, moving to Britain or nearby Austria and the Czech Republic in search of a better life.

"There are no jobs anymore in the countryside. Young people leave for the city or go abroad and they never come back," Marta Bujnakova, spokeswoman for the Association of Slovak Towns and Villages (ZMOS), told AFP.

- Mountains to cruise ships -

Little investment has trickled into the countryside and EU regional developments funds also appear to be missing the mark.

While Slovakia's economy is expected to expand by a brisk 3.2 percent this year, joblessness remained stubbornly high at 11.6 percent nationwide in April.

While it hovers close to six percent in Bratislava, unemployment soars to 17 percent in rural areas.

It is a plight that has left a deep impression on Mnisek nad Popradom, a village whose houses fan out up a mountainside alongside the Polish border, that has been a focal point of public attention regarding the country's vanishing villages.

On paper, it has a population of 650 people, but according to Mayor Peter Zemba, 90 percent of its residents work abroad.

Typically, women go to Austria as nurses and men find work on cruise ships and other jobs that keep them away from the village most of the year. Schools have been shut.

"We really want to live and work here, to hold onto this life, but financial conditions force us to move to other countries for work and to send money back," said Zemba.

Michal Stuska, spokesman for Slovakia's labour and social affairs ministry, insists the state cannot be accused of turning a blind eye to rural depopulation.

Both domestic and EU funds have been spent on correcting disparities between Slovakia's more urbanised and affluent west and its poorer, predominantly rural, east, he said.

 

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today ghost villages haunt slovakias economic success Arab Today, arab today ghost villages haunt slovakias economic success

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today ghost villages haunt slovakias economic success Arab Today, arab today ghost villages haunt slovakias economic success

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Youssra depended on colored foam

GMT 16:53 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Youssra depended on colored foam
Arab Today, arab today Lufthansa chief eyes up to 78

GMT 11:29 2017 Thursday ,21 September

Lufthansa chief eyes up to 78
Arab Today, arab today Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts

GMT 17:52 2017 Sunday ,03 September

Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts
Arab Today, arab today Rouhani at UN defends Iran nuclear deal

GMT 09:41 2017 Thursday ,21 September

Rouhani at UN defends Iran nuclear deal
Arab Today, arab today Saudi Arabia to unblock internet calling apps

GMT 11:31 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

Saudi Arabia to unblock internet calling apps
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Ministry seeks to improve education

GMT 14:49 2017 Sunday ,17 September

Ministry seeks to improve education
Arab Today, arab today China lifts 10-year travel ban

GMT 18:09 2017 Thursday ,21 September

China lifts 10-year travel ban
Arab Today, arab today Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands brace

GMT 12:01 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands brace
Arab Today, arab today The history of solar eclipses

GMT 05:16 2017 Sunday ,20 August

The history of solar eclipses
Arab Today, arab today Intel chips loaded in Waymo

GMT 14:43 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

Intel chips loaded in Waymo
Arab Today, arab today Five trends at the Frankfurt auto show

GMT 12:04 2017 Monday ,18 September

Five trends at the Frankfurt auto show
Arab Today, arab today Actress Ream Hhagag prepares for a new film

GMT 09:40 2017 Tuesday ,19 September

Actress Ream Hhagag prepares for a new film
Arab Today, arab today France hopeful of persuading Trump

GMT 06:21 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

France hopeful of persuading Trump

GMT 12:14 2017 Monday ,18 September

Horia Farghaly happy for success of “Case G”

GMT 10:35 2017 Thursday ,14 September

New Zealand opposition looks

GMT 16:53 2017 Saturday ,02 September

Mai importance of gifts during Eid Al-Adha

GMT 19:18 2017 Monday ,18 September

5,000 'Dieselgate' deaths in Europe per year

GMT 10:46 2017 Saturday ,05 August

Nanis reveals simple ideas for home renovation

GMT 04:49 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

WHO urges Yemen to accept vaccines

GMT 16:04 2017 Tuesday ,19 September

Egypt tourism revival steady but slow

GMT 17:12 2017 Monday ,07 August

Al-Shawaifi reveals secrets of total solar eclipse

GMT 12:46 2017 Thursday ,21 September

Google likely to buy stake in Taiwan smartphone maker HTC

GMT 11:37 2017 Saturday ,12 August

Fashion designer reveals her new collection
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday