OVER 45,000 Slovaks emigrated in 2000 to seek work, according to the Labour Research Office, while six percent of the country's 5.4 million people are considering the same move (representing a potential 270,000 emigrants).
Although the eastern regions of the country produce more emigrants that western areas (15 per cent of people in Košice region are considering emigrating against less than 9 per cent in Trnava region), people living in cities are now more likely than village-dwellers to express a desire to leave.
As Slovakia moves closer to projected 2004 European Union entry, its efforts to convince EU members not to fear a wave of Slovak migrant workers have increased. While some EU members (principally Germany and Austria) favour a seven-year delay in full freedom of movement for new EU countries, others have said they will permit Slovaks to work on their territories immediately after entry.
However, Ľubica Gajdošová of the Labour Ministry said that nothing would be decided on labour mobility until EU entry treaties were scripted, likely in March 2002.