The numbers tell the story. Between 2015 and 2016, Germany accepted more than 1.2 million migrants fleeing war and poverty in Syria and several North African countries. But at the end of last year, only around 34,000 had found jobs.
At Ford’s huge factory in Cologne, typically starving for young people eager to launch a career in the automotive sector, just 15 refugees have landed an apprenticeship.
These numbers are all the more significant, given that Germany’s economic boom has nearly emptied the domestic labor market and its demographics show an acute shortage of young people to keep the economy purring in the coming years.