International study shows that Belgium underperforms in labour market integration The study was carried out by Bertelsmann Stiftung with the aim of evaluating government action and reforms in all EU and OECD countries through 136 indicators. Belgium went down five places in relation to the 2014 survey. Nordic countries score the highest in this category, followed by Switzerland and Germany.
The regression of Belgium in this classification is explained mainly by weak dynamics in the labour market (26th place) and by omissions in integration policies (32nd place).
The study reveals a high unemployment rate in youth and in long-term unemployment. According to Bertelsmann Stiftung, the situation is particularly difficult for persons of foreign origin. “Belgium has never made adequate investments in education allowing immigrants and their children to easily integrate in the economic sphere. This has led to a high unemployment rate in immigrants, who are mostly concentrated in urban areas (particularly in Brussels). The deep differences between Belgian nationals and residents of non-European origin in terms of education and unemployment rates therefore persist,” the study highlights.
Scandinavian countries lead in the ranking of this study, but their position is fragile. Norway suffers from low oil and gas prices and Sweden is facing difficulties in accommodating refugees. “We see in general a trend of growing social inequality in the Nordic countries,” remarked the study.