A total of 228,000 nationals of the Western Balkan countries Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo, emigrated legally to the European Union in 2018, according to Eurostat figures, carried by the Montenegrin daily "Vijesti" on Thursday.
Last year, 62,000 Albanians moved to the EU, which is 2.2% of the country's overall population, followed by 2.1% of North Macedonians (24,300), and 2% of Kosovars (34,500 Kosovars; 53,500 nationals of Bosnia and Herzegovina left their country for the EU, a share of 1.5%, while Serbia lost 51,000 citizens to emigration (1.3%) and Montenegro 3,000 (0.5%).
Nationals of Western Balkan countries emigrate the most to Germany. In 2018 as many as 19,000 Kosovars, 16,000 citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia each, 11,500 North Macedonians and 1,500 Montenegrins emigrated to Germany.
Albanian citizens prefer Italy and in 2018, 23,000 emigrated to that country.
Last year, a total of 2.67 million residence permits were issued in the EU for the first arrival from almost every country in the world.
The number of new immigrants is the highest in Germany - 543,000, followed by the UK, with 450,000 immigrants, France, with 264,000 immigrants, Spain, with 259,000, Italy, 238,000 and Sweden, with 124,000 immigrants.