EU's rights agency warns of 'lost generation' of young refugees

EU's rights agency warns of 'lost generation' of young refugees
By Natalie Huet
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Europe is at risk of creating a "lost generation" of young refugees, who aren't properly integrated into their host countries, the EU's Agency for Fundamental Rights warns.

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How is Europe integrating young refugees? Not very well, according to a new report by the EU's Agency for Fundamental Rights, which warns the bloc risks creating a "lost generation".

Nearly 2 million migrants received international protection in the EU between 2015 and 2018. Most of those granted asylum are young people, who are likely to settle there.

"It's crucial, given their age, to integrate them successfully in order for them to succeed in life and for them to contribute meaningfully to societies," Ludovica Banfi, who co-authored the report, told Euronews.

The Agency for Fundamental Rights interviewed refugees and professionals working with them across six member states -- Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Sweden. It calls on governments to speed up asylum procedures, make it easier for families to be reunited and provide more housing.

At the peak of the 2015 migrant crisis, asylum procedures lasted very long, significantly delaying -- often by two years -- the integration process for refugees, Banfi explained.

More needs to be done to give them access to vocational training and help them find jobs, she added.

The report does identify some positive initiatives across member states.

"Countries like Austria and Sweden are doing quite well when it comes to the provision of individual housing," Banfi said, noting that the city of Vienna is able to accommodate 70 percent of asylum seekers.

Education is another promising field for the integration of refugees: "The majority of countries we've looked into have introduction programmes for children (...) where they can learn the language and gradually integrate into the mainstream school systems," she explained.

"So there are good practices out there. However, there are still a number of gaps that need to be addressed."

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