“Thousands in the West Balkans work via online freelance platforms, but their off-the-books jobs offer no health or unemployment coverage. The only other option for many would be a one-way ticket to seek a life abroad.

The average monthly net salary in Serbia was €417 ($489) in June, according to the latest data from the National Statistical Office. Workers in Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo, the other West Balkan nations that have not joined the European Union, are not doing any better. It’s not a living wage, even in the poorest regions of the West Balkans.

But, instead of packing their suitcases and purchasing one-way tickets to elsewhere in Europe or even Canada or the United States, as their compatriots did for decades, young people seem to have discovered the virtual Balkan Dream: staying home with family and friends, but earning money at near-EU standards.” (Full story at Deutsche Welle)