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A lost generation of migrants?

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.

Khant Thaw Htoo is a young engineer who works in Eni's Sakura Tower office in the heart of Yangon. As an HSE engineer, he monitors the safety and environmental impact of onshore and offshore operations. He also looks out for his parents' well-being, in keeping with Myanmar's traditions.

Learn more about Khant in the final episode of the Faces of Eni series, which focuses on Eni's employees around the world.

On his first day as president, Joe Biden signed a remarkable series of executive orders. Boom! The US rejoins the Paris Climate Accord. Bang! The United States rejoins the World Health Organization. Pow! No more ban on immigration from many Muslim-majority countries. Biden's press secretary reminded reporters later in the day that all these orders merely begin complex processes that take time, but the impact is still dramatic.

If you lead a country allied with the US, or you're simply hoping for some specific commitment or clear and credible statement of purpose from the US government, you might feel a little dizzy today. The sight of an American president (Barack Obama) signing his name, of the next president (Donald Trump) erasing that name from the same legislation/bill, and then the following president (Biden) signing it back into law again will raise deep concerns over the long-term reliability of the world's still-most-powerful nation.

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"There needs to be a dramatic and deep reduction in the amount of debt on the poorest countries. That's clear." As the world's poorest nations struggle to recover from a devastating pandemic, World Bank President David Malpass argues that freeing them of much of their debt will be key. His conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Listen: Renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher has no qualms about saying that social media companies bear responsibility for the January 6th pro-Trump riots at the Capitol and will likely be complicit in the civil unrest that may continue well into Biden's presidency. It's no surprise, she argues, that the online rage that platforms like Facebook and Twitter intentionally foment translated into real-life violence. But if Silicon Valley's current role in our national discourse is untenable, how can the US government rein it in? That, it turns out, is a bit more complicated. Swisher joins Ian Bremmer on our podcast.

Ian Bremmer discusses the World In (more than) 60 Seconds:

Biden's first scheduled call with a world leader will be with Canada's Justin Trudeau. What's going on with the Keystone Pipeline?

Well, Biden said that that's it. Executive order, one of the first is that he will stop any construction or development of the Keystone Pipeline. This is of course an oil pipeline that would allow further oil sands oil to come to the United States. The infrastructure is significantly overstretched, it's led to backlogs, inefficiency, accidents, all the rest, but it also facilitates more energy development and keeps prices comparatively down if you get it done. So, there are lots of reasons why the energy sector in Canada wants it. Having said all of that, Trudeau, even though he's been a supporter of Keystone XL, let's keep in mind that he did not win support in Alberta, which is where the big energy patch in Canada is located. This is a real problem for the government of Alberta, Canada is a very decentralized federal government, even more so than the United States. The premier of Alberta is immensely unhappy with Biden right now, they've taken a $1.5 billion equity stake in the project. I expect there will actually be litigation against the United States by the government of Alberta. But Trudeau is quite happy with Biden, his relationship was Trump was always walking on eggshells. The USMCA in negotiations ultimately successful but were very challenging for the Canadians, so too with the way Trump engaged in relations on China. All of this, the fact that Trump left the nuclear agreement with Iran, the Paris Climate Accords, WHO, all of that is stuff that Trudeau strongly opposed. He's going to be much more comfortable with this relationship. He's delighted that the first call from Biden is to him. And it certainly creates a level of normalcy in the US-Canada relationship that is very much appreciated by our neighbors to the North.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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