Poland and the EU: Poland’s emigration headache

BELGIANS must believe Siemiatycze is the capital of Poland, residents of this eastern Polish town like to quip. Those that are left, that is. Since before the fall of Communism Brussels has been the destination of choice for thousands of Siemiatyczans who seek work abroad. Accurate figures as to just how many have left are hard to come by, as people often retain Siematycze as their official place of residence. But it is clear that the real population of the town, at any given moment, is considerably less than the official figure of 15,000.Poland’s Central Statistics Office estimates that 2.1m Poles are living abroad, most within Europe. That figure peaked at 2.3m in 2007, after which some people started to move back. Yet predictions of a mass return of emigrants as Western Europe slid into recession (whereas Poland did not) proved wrong. For the past three years, the number of emigrants has been rising steadily again. Alarm bells are ringing in Warsaw.The largest number of expatriate Poles are in Britain, followed by Germany and Ireland. But there are sizeable contingents all over Western Europe and Scandinavia. Family and neighbourly connections mean that some towns develop relationships with particular destinations abroad, as is the case between Siemiatycze and Brussels.Every Friday morning three coaches leave Siemiatycze for the Belgian capital. The driver of the …

Link to article: www.economist.com/blogs/easternapproaches/2013/11/poland-and-eu?fsrc=rss

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