Young people flee bankrupt Romanian town

Closed Aninoasa coal mine

Closed Aninoasa coal mine | Image from Al Jazeera video

Aninoasa, Romania is the only city in Europe to have declared bankruptcy.

Seven years since the city's coal mine closed – the only major employer – and two months since declaring bankruptcy, nearly every young person has fled Aninosa. The population is now made up almost entirely of pensioners, Al Jazeera reports (in Bosnian).

When the Anonisa state-owned coal mine closed in 2006, it left nearly every person in the town unemployed. Now almost all of them rely on mining pensions of between 100 and 500 euros per month.

Apart from some stores, a bakery and a hair salon, the city has no business.

One former coal mine employee told an Al Jazeera reporter that things were better "even during Ceausescu's time."

Coal mining is an endangered industry in Eastern Europe. Although many countries have long traditions of coal mining, they often depend on state subsidies to operate and a 2010 European Union law states that all money-losing mines will have to close by 2018.

But Europe's coal industry is peanuts in the grand scheme of things. Accounting for just 2.5% of global coal production, the markets will barely notice the closure of state-subsidized mines. The industry directly and indirectly employs about 100,000 people in Europe, according to EU Business.