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The economic integration of migrants and refugees

What are the economic and labour market implications of Europe's refugee influx?


The word ‘crisis’ is applied unrelentingly to Europe’s economy, political system and society. In the fields of labour and migration, commentators and politicians point to multiple crises of unemployment, skilled labour shortages, aging, insufficient migration and excessive migration. Most recently the news and parliaments have been filled with debates on the greatest refugee crisis in decades.

The topic is delicate and emotional, touching on broad issues of identity, history and social security. But what really happens to an economy when a large number of outsiders enter the labour market? What advice can academic analysis and political experience offer Europe as it attempts to combine humanitarian necessity and economic forethought? Do long-term immigration pressures and the current influx of refugees offer more chances to be grasped or risks to be mitigated?

Bruegel was pleased to welcome Klaus F. Zimmermann, Director of Bonn’s Institute for the Study of Labor, for a keynote address. Guntram Wolff, Bruegel Director, then chaired a discussion with Reinhilde Veugelers, Senior Fellow at Bruegel,  and Joel Hellstrand, from the unit responsible for Sweden’s fast track scheme to integrate new arrivals into the workforce.

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