President Atifete Jahjaga has urged Kosovars to stay at home, following reports that the number of people crossing illegally into the European Union in search of prosperity has soared in recent weeks.

Jahjaga on Friday visited the town of Vushtrri where thousands of citizens have boarded buses to Serbia and then made the journey into the EU.

He says "the solution is not to run away" and called on Kosovars to "carry the weight" of building the young country.

Police say some 25,000 people have crossed illegally from Kosovo into Hungary since September — alarming figures for Europe's poorest region of 1.8 million that seceded from Serbia in 2008.

The U.N. says 35 percent of Kosovars are unemployed and the poverty rate is just short of 30 percent.