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2014.02.25 11:13

Lithuanian youth give advice on how to stop emigration

DELFI|The Lithuania Tribune2014.02.25 11:13

That Lithuanians are fleeing Lithuania is old news. Recently, however, there has been increasingly more talk about the emigration of young people. Students and pupils agreed to share their thoughts on how to stop this phenomenon, writes Rūta Juozapaitytė of www.delfi.lt.

 That Lithuanians are fleeing Lithuania is old news. Recently, however, there has been increasingly more talk about the emigration of young people. Students and pupils agreed to share their thoughts on how to stop this phenomenon, writes Rūta Juozapaitytė of www.delfi.lt.

Seeking concessions for parents and those without work experience

Psychology student Greta told us that she felt most sorry not about her peers going abroad, but about the children who are bound to grow up without their parents. Therefore, she suggested that a law should be passed that would guarantee higher wages for those parents who have a lot of children, thus reducing the rate of their emigration.

“The employment system needs to be modified. If parents lose their jobs, they still need to support their children, so they leave them in Lithuania in order to earn money, which they later send home. This is very bad. Children must live with their parents. That is why there should be more employment possibilities,” said Greta.

“A young graduate does not have experience and, thus, does not receive any job offers. It should not be this way. Perhaps they should establish certain firms which would offer training for students who could then say to their potential employers that they can do this or that and that they know how to use one thing or another. Young people want to work, but without being offered a job they go where they can get one, even if it is out of their line,” she further claimed.

Tadas from Šiauliai holds a similar view. He thinks that emigration is like a circle: if parents go abroad, children are very likely to leave as well.

“The state could provide some concessions to the companies employing young people. A constant problem is that employers are looking for experienced employees, which makes it more difficult for young people. I have heard that companies pay lower taxes if it is the employee’s first job, but not everyone knows this,” Tadas maintained.

Not expecting emigration to stop

A student of political science Edvinas stated that the process of emigration is not a bad thing as such, if emigration is temporary. He said that he supported his peers who work overseas during the summer, but the kind of emigration that we are witnessing in Lithuania is dangerous, he thinks.

Edvinas believes that the number of Lithuanian emigrants will certainly not go down in the near future.

“Living in Lithuania today means choosing one of the two dualisms: either living in a city like Vilnius, Kaunas or Klaipėda and trying to build a good life there, or staying in the province, which normally means vegetating and is often even equal to exile. Therefore, people tend to opt for a third alternative, i.e. emigration,” Edvinas said.

“On the other hand, everything is not that bad since, for example, a young person aims for self-realisation; travelling gives him or her new experiences and knowledge. In the present-day world, it is not engaging to settle in one place,” he continued.

“It is bad for the country because the so-called brain drain is taking place, fewer taxes are being collected and the demographic situation is deteriorating. Having solved such issues as large-scale corruption in certain sectors, an illogical and inefficient social policy, an unbalanced ratio between wages and prices, etc., emigration may be expected to decrease in volume and former emigrants may even return home,” Edvinas stated.

Panacea against emigration does not exist

Antanas Mikalauskas, President of the Lithuanian School Students’ Union, believes that emigration is a continual and natural process which cannot be stopped.

“Some people leave in order to test themselves, study or look for a job. Others come or return after having seen the world and acquired useful experience. Society still thinks that life is much better abroad. Regrettably, many people forsake Lithuania, upholding the view that they will not achieve and attain anything in their homeland. However, I am happy that a considerable part of youth understands that, if they want to, they will find numerous opportunities here in Lithuania,” said Mikalauskas.

Paulius Baltokas, President of the Lithuanian National Union of Students, also admitted that a panacea against emigration does not exist. According to him, this phenomenon has, and will continue to exist.

“I think that the fundamental task of the government is to find a way to have the young people, who are going to study abroad, return to Lithuania and its labour market. I believe that young Lithuanians are rather patriotic – just that their attitude to patriotism might be a little different,” said Paulius.

“It is not so important for the youth to take part in various commemorations of national holidays, but the patriotism they feel unfolds in their daily activities: by being interested in the history of Lithuania, by following and reacting to today’s topicalities, and by contributing, one way or another, to the planning of their motherland’s future,” Baltokas stated.