Economic integration of refugees in the countries of first asylum

The integration of refugees in European labour markets is one of the key challenges confronting EU member states in the coming years. At the same time, Southern Mediterranean countries, such as Jordan and Lebanon, are facing even greater challenges due to the larger refugee populations in these countries. Discussions at a CEPS workshop on June 8th, held in cooperation with the Euro-Mediterranean Network for Economic Studies (EMNES) and the Mercator Dialogue on Asylum and Migration (MEDAM), shed light on policies and tools at the EU level that could support the economic integration of refugees in the Southern Mediterranean. Indeed, the EU has close economic ties with the region and thus has substantial influence on their economies. Trade liberalisation, better access to finance for local entrepreneurs and targeted direct investment, for example in the up-skilling of the labour force, were highlighted as measures that could help create job opportunities for the domestic population as well as refugees in the area. Moreover, it is also be in the EU’s own interest to make integration policies a success.