The financial crisis in Europe became the catalyst for a new take on finding innovate ways for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe. As early as 2005, however, and in the light of the looming demographic crisis, the European Commission had stressed the need to integrate migrants more effectively in order to meet labour market needs, hence contributing to a stronger European economy and to the survival of the welfare state. Against the backdrop of the Europe 2020 strategy, we investigate asylum- and migration policies and the role of political entrepreneurs in creating more effective and innovative paths to labour market integration and inclusive growth in the EU. The study shows that the Commission has been promoting a forward-looking policy agenda, with initiatives that strengthen the legal rights of both migrants and refugees to have access particularly to highly skilled employment, self-employment and the right to study. However, since labour market integration is Member State competence, the fragmentation of the 28 national labour markets, including the persisting brain-drain problematique, is certain to prevent any sustainable development for inclusive growth at EU level.
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