A MEDAM session addressed the difficulties regarding the labor market integration of refugees at the CEPS Ideas Lab 2017, which took place 23-24 February. Herbert Brücker of the German Institute for Employment Research, Jelena Drenjanin of the Huddinge Municipal Council, and Yunus Mohammdi of the Greek Forum of Refugees as well as moderator Mehtap Akgüç, a CEPS research fellow, discussed challenges, opportunities and best cases.
Provocatively titled “What to do about the failure to integrate refugees into the labor market?”, the MEDAM session looked at the high levels of unemployment among refugees, as well as the concerns of citizens that newcomers might take their jobs or will live on welfare without contributing to the system – sentiments that are being fueled by populist political parties which have seen incredible growth. The lively debate with many questions and comments by many session participants emphasized the need for reform and policy strategies.
Within just three years, the CEPS Ideas Lab has become one of the main events on the Brussels’ calendar. With over 100 speakers, two plenaries, 33 sessions, four special evening sessions and four breakfast sessions, the latest Ideas Lab, was highly successful.