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Youth Brain Drain in the Western Balkans: Shifting Perspectives and Policies

Young people are leaving the Western Balkans in droves. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Serbia are estimated to lose between a 25 to 50 percent of their skilled and educated younger citizens in the years to come. This massive youth brain drain jeopardizes the democratic and economic progress, and the prospects for accession to the European Union, of the entire region. Although this issue has long been acknowledged across the six countries, their governments have so far failed to provide consistent and effective policy responses. What are realistic policy options to tackle youth brain drain in the Western Balkans? How can perspectives and policies be shifted to tap the potential of emerging youth diasporas? How do public narratives on the issue need to change?