A lost generation of migrants?

A family of refugees steps off a boat or arrives at a border. Should they be allowed to enter? This question provokes passionate responses in countries around the world these days.

But there's a second set of questions: if they are admitted, where will they live? How will they learn a new language? How will their children be educated? Will they have access to the training needed to get jobs to help them support themselves?

In short, how can they be integrated into society?

These questions are at the heart of a new report from the EU, which warns of a potential "lost generation" of migrants, people who enter Europe to build better lives but then find little chance of integrating into society.


Between 2015 and 2018, nearly two million people were granted protection within the European Union. Some were refugees. Others were migrants looking for better economic prospects for themselves and their families. About 80 percent of these people were under the age of 34.

To ensure they can be integrated, the report calls on EU member states to:

  • speed up asylum procedures
  • cut the red tape that delays the reunification of families
  • provide proper housing
  • improve mental healthcare for refugees under enormous stress
  • grant asylum applicants early access to education, vocational training, and jobs to protect them from exploitation of their labor or criminals pushing them toward lives of crime.

This is not charity. EU countries, especially those with fast-aging populations, need an infusion of young people to power their economies and pay for their social safety nets. Immigrants can provide that boost, but only if they're given a real opportunity to contribute.

The report's authors point to good news. They say that the six countries covered in the report (Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Sweden) have already taken positive steps on housing and on language programs for children. But there are still dangerous gaps that need to be addressed in all these countries.

This is a global problem. There is nothing uniquely European about this challenge. There are now more than 71 million displaced people around the world. It's a hot political topic in every region of the world, and the forces that have pushed so many from their homes—war, organized crime, the impact of changing weather patterns on agriculture, inequality among nations, and broader public awareness of better conditions elsewhere—continue to intensify.

The bottom-line: Serious thinking about how best to integrate migrants will benefit the countries that choose to welcome them and the migrants themselves. The need will only grow more urgent in coming years.

This month, a bipartisan group of legislators in Washington state presented new legislation that could soon become the most comprehensive privacy law in the country. The centerpiece of this legislation, the Washington Privacy Act as substituted, goes further than the landmark bill California recently enacted and builds on the law Europeans have enjoyed for the past year and a half.

As Microsoft President Brad Smith shared in his blog post about our priorities for the state of Washington's current legislative session, we believe it is important to enact strong data privacy protections to demonstrate our state's leadership on what we believe will be one of the defining issues of our generation. People will only trust technology if they know their data is private and under their control, and new laws like these will help provide that assurance.

Read more here.

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For months now, the US has been lobbying countries around the world to ban the Chinese tech giant Huawei from building the 5G data networks that are going to power everything from your cell phone, to power grids, to self-driving cars. US security hawks say allowing a Chinese company to supply such essential infrastructure could allow the Chinese government to steal sensitive data or even sabotage networks. On the other hand, rejecting Huawei could make 5G more expensive. It also means angering the world's second-largest economy.

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The end of the interim in Bolivia? – Mere months after taking over as Bolivia's interim president, Jeanine Áñez has decided that "interim" isn't quite permanent enough, and she now wants to run for president in elections set for May 3. Áñez is an outspoken conservative who took over in October when mass protests over election fraud prompted the military to oust the long-serving left-populist Evo Morales. She says she is just trying to unify a fractious conservative ticket that can beat the candidate backed by Morales' party. (Morales himself is barred from running.) Her supporters say she has the right to run just like anyone else. But critics say that after promising that she would serve only as a caretaker president, Áñez's decision taints the legitimacy of an election meant to be a clean slate reset after the unrest last fall. We are watching closely to see if her move sparks fresh unrest in an already deeply polarized country.

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1: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was formally indicted on corruption charges Tuesday, making him the first sitting prime minister to face trial in Israel's history. The charges came hours before Netanyahu was set to meet President Trump for the unveiling of the US' long-anticipated Mideast peace plan.

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