Arab Today, arab today ghost villages haunt slovakias economic success
Last Updated : GMT 01:27:57
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.

 

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 Prepares to present her new collection

GMT 14:29 2017 Monday ,20 February

Prepares to present her new collection
Arab Today, arab today Tourism shows signs of recovery

GMT 09:59 2017 Monday ,20 February

Tourism shows signs of recovery
Arab Today, arab today Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"

GMT 19:45 2017 Monday ,20 February

Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"
Arab Today, arab today Optimism on the front line

GMT 07:24 2017 Monday ,20 February

Optimism on the front line
Arab Today, arab today Murder of 2 reporters in Dominican Republic

GMT 22:45 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Murder of 2 reporters in Dominican Republic
View News in Arabic - Business: اقتصاد دولي
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Kidogo provides childcare for underserved

GMT 20:24 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Kidogo provides childcare for underserved
Arab Today, arab today Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed

GMT 06:50 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed
Arab Today, arab today London to tax old cars

GMT 14:06 2017 Friday ,17 February

London to tax old cars
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Nissan enhances sales in most markets

GMT 14:08 2017 Monday ,20 February

Nissan enhances sales in most markets
Arab Today, arab today Competes Sweden and Germans by S90

GMT 22:36 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Competes Sweden and Germans by S90
Arab Today, arab today Egypt to hold first session of Arab film festival

GMT 21:11 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Egypt to hold first session of Arab film festival
Arab Today, arab today Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 20:41 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 07:30 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Actress Nadeen Al Rassi views art as her entity

GMT 06:40 2017 Friday ,10 February

MP calls for removing text from Islamic story

GMT 19:10 2017 Friday ,17 February

Hats, scarves add beauty to women

GMT 10:26 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

Emergency UN meeting in Harare

GMT 23:29 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Home built on sand castles-style costs $8m

GMT 21:49 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Scientists develop new therapy

GMT 19:16 2017 Friday ,17 February

Aziz House ready to host the tourists

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 12:39 2017 Monday ,20 February

newest smartphone another winner for Huawei

GMT 13:16 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

First fashion model with Down syndrome
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