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Berlin plans 'integration contract' for immigrants

The Local · 23 Nov 2009, 08:31

Published: 23 Nov 2009 08:31 GMT+01:00

The new contract, a goal for the current legislative period, will elaborate on what kind of support immigrants can expect from Germany, in addition to “what we expect from the immigrants,” Maria Böhmer told daily Stuttgarter Nachrichten.

“All who want to live and work here for the long run must say yes to our country,” she continued. “To this belongs proficiency in the German language, but also a readiness to take part in society.”

German values, such as freedom of speech and equal rights for women must also be recognised in the proposed contract, said Böhmer, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats.

In response to controversial comments about Berlin’s failing Turkish and Arab community made by Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin in September, Böhmer told the paper she had been stunned by his statements.

“There are indeed large city quarters with parallel societies,” she said, but added that when Sarrazin was serving as Berlin’s finance minister, he failed to take action.

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“When one did nothing to improve matters and then makes such statements while no longer holding responsibility, then I can only react with astonishment,” she told the paper.

“Regarding the necessary debate over poor school achievement, there must also be a discussion over those who get their high school diplomas, study, start companies, or become engineers, doctors and lawyers,” she told the paper, adding that these immigrants are part of the “economic success of our country.”

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

09:43 November 23, 2009 by berlinski
Great idea. Some immigrants talk about not being allowed to integrate properly, but also do not respect western values such as equality for women. How many times do we see women in Burkas in Germany? Are we supposed to copy this tradition so as to make these immigrants feel integrated?
10:00 November 23, 2009 by Portnoy
I love how everyone runs around talking about 'parallel societies' as if Germany is such a unified country. There are parallel societies everywhere -- put a tubby Bavarian in a room with a fauxhawked Berliner and tell them that Hanover is the best city in Germany and watch what happens. Hell, even in Berlin people don't mix -- even when they're white and speak the same language. This 'integration' canard is just a way to keep marginalizing everyone.
10:29 November 23, 2009 by Jibzy
@Berlinski: Those are very insensitive remarks on your behalf. I am a foreigner. I come from Pakistan. I dont require anyone to wear burqas to make me feel at home. Why would your blatantly label every foreigner like that?

I fully support the Government in what they're doing. They're trying to make it easy for everyone to live and work here while thinking of the benefit of their own people.
10:32 November 23, 2009 by Celeon
I think those contracts are a good idea.

They clearly and personally outline the basic rules to each immigrant.

A thing which's absence has much too often been abused by those who later got involved into criminal activities. They could much too often refer to the phony explanation "Oh i did not know that this was forbidden here, no one told me ,really "

They also create a legal basis which makes it easier to expell criminal immigrants from the country.

Freedom of speech will become a problem though if it does not refer to all the exceptions that come along with it.

We dont have 100% freedom of speech in Germany, and if this is not outlined in detail there the missing outline can be easily abused as a loophole for hate preachers.
10:57 November 23, 2009 by Kayak
Can someone please tell me what they think should happen if an immigrant breaks one of rules of the proposed 'integration contract'?
11:15 November 23, 2009 by nicgman
Its just more paperwork to keep the bureaucrats happy ;) The more paper they print and have you fill in the more safe they feel and that they have things in control.... Print, sign, stamp, into folder..... ;)
13:07 November 23, 2009 by Davey-jo
Perhaps if they wore a little badge on their sleeve you could tell if they were integrating properly.
14:15 November 23, 2009 by juanman79
Great remark Davey-jo... history repeating itself?
14:55 November 23, 2009 by drcobol
A novel concept to encourage immigrants to assimilate into society. When my great-grandparents immigrated to the US, they spoke little English. They learned the language and became a contributing part of society by owning and operating a business, purchasing a home and becoming active members of various fraternal organizations. Today, immigrants to the US refuse to assimilate. They live in cloistered communities, refuse to learn the language and generally expect the taxpayers in the country to pay for their expenses. Be it food, health care, housing or whatever government stipend they can wring out of those of us who actually contribute to society rather than being a drain on society. Sad, truly sad. This contract is an interesting concept but would hardly be enforceable to any great extent unless the immigrant were to apply for some government benefit.
15:23 November 23, 2009 by kweli
What an interesting idea, Ithought a contract was a two way agreement and not a one sided formulated piece of document. The fact is that on this issue you can take a cow for a drink but if it does not want to, it just won't despite the many gifts, promises, threats and lashes you offer.
20:11 November 23, 2009 by Dizz
No one's even slightly amused by the fact that someone in some room came up with the idea of making a list about what it is to be more German-like and everybody sat up and clapped and said "oh what a wonderful idea, lets do that"?

Come on people there is room for so much irony and satire and even something Kafka would write! That whole mentality is so quintessentially Deutsche!! Ah well. If ya missed it ya missed it. Brings me to my next point. "You don't suppose Fred's gone...I can hardly even say it,,, gone native, Sir?" Maybe some of us have been here too long. :)
21:02 November 23, 2009 by yourfriend
Another pathetic attempt to keep the practicing Muslims away from obtaining German citizenship. What is freedom of expression, if it meant the insult of million of peoples beloved personalities on the bases of fabricated novels or fictions then why there is ban orprison sentences on the other lies or truth, please leave the hypocracy. Second if anyone has a misconception that west is the champion of women rights by making their women naked then please read the sad stories of the thousands of sex slave white girls living miserably in Europe, Israel or in US.

Head scarf or the dress code of muslim women is a sign of modesty that made her safe from the lustful eyes of the rapists and the bad guys. And btw the modest dress code or the head coverwas also common in the west until the start of this centry.

In the end I think the white europeans donot have to be afraid from anyone , I am sure no nation has the capacity or heart to occupy , innihialte, displaced and murder the million of local inhabitants as iin the case of North and South America, Australia, Canada or Afrikas.
22:20 November 23, 2009 by bmck
Reminds me of middle school where we had to sign a contract - to do our work.
01:00 November 24, 2009 by themayor
These slanderous comments from the minister Maria Böhmer about Thilo Sarrazin have no basis in fact. Thilo Sarrazin is a highly competent and respected former finance senator from Berlin who was very engaged and quite successful in managing that city's disastrous budget, even creating the first time ever budget surplus in 2007.
01:28 November 24, 2009 by eddymanly
yourfriend, i like what u have written, particularly the last paragraph.
11:12 November 25, 2009 by maxmarlow333@yahoo.com
Multiculturalism and forced integration does not work, look at England they are suffering the consequences. Racial tension only exists where races mix and where races mix there will always be tension, that is the law of nature are sure as the law of gravity.
23:57 November 25, 2009 by 1FCK_1FCK
drcobol -- what complete garbage you spew. You probably don't even know any immigrants. Yet you feel free to recite all the racist stereotypes about freeloading aliens who sponge off hard-working white people like you. Fortunately clowns like you are but 20% maximum of the voting population. Have fun becoming a minority in your own country as the US slowly turns brown.
06:33 December 2, 2009 by Cheney
Learn the language first. Then you come to Visit. The sad reality is, if you look different that will always precede you. Life will always be hard for one to "fit in".. It is that way everywhere in the world. Unless we are all blinded and deafened, it will continue to be. I think the Socialists know this and it is cheap and easy votes to get the stagnant employed immigrant to vote for them. Its like listening to children debate these facts over and over. Only a fool would visit China and expect them to make you feel no different then a native Chinese even though your home was in Germany. Yet the socialist expects this from the German people when visitors come here. As if the German people dont have enough to worry about: home, Children to feed, job, health.
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