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Reader feedback: Wake up call

Re: Young Slovaks prepared to move abroad, News survey, January 30-February 5, 2006

Forty-eight percent? One out of two! This brings to mind the obvious question: If Slovakia is moving steadily into the future, if the Slovak economy is on the rise, if there are as many new opportunities as one regularly reads about, then why would one out of two Slovak young people want to leave their country to live and work elsewhere?

If these numbers are accurate, that is a strong indictment of the Slovak government. Talk about a "wake up call".

I would guess that such figures would be far lower in most Western countries. I have difficulty imagining that one out of two, or even one out of 10 Brits, Americans, French or Italians would desire to leave home for work and life opportunities.

This is important enough to spend time discussing if, first, the poll is accurate. Secondly, if most or many of those in their 20s would actually go, and third, what impact would it have on a country like Slovakia if its most educated, healthy and productive members leave?

I believe there is a debate in South Africa about the huge percentage of trained medical personnel being lured to England and the damage being done to the country's health system. Well, spread that notion across society and you get not only doctors and nurses leaving.

I do wonder how Slovakia compares in this regard with its neighbours? Are those figures available? I realize that it is apples and oranges comparing Slovakia with England, Germany or America.

Don Merritt,
Berlin, Germany

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