Ex-finance senator says Berlin is too dumb to become a great city

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30 Sep, 2009 Updated Wed 30 Sep 2009 11:10 CEST
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Berlin’s former finance senator Thilo Sarrazin has said the denizens of the German capital don't have the intellect to make it a great city, daily Bild reported on Wednesday.

Sarrazin, now a board member of Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, told the most recent edition of magazine Lettre International that Berlin could “never be saved by Berliners,” the paper said.

Instead, the intellectual wherewithal required for the city’s regeneration should be “imported like in New York in the 1950s,” he said.

The lack of talent derives from two factors, the tradition of the left-wing German student movement in the 1960s and “typical West Berliner slovenliness,” he told the magazine, which did not publish the interview online.

Meanwhile Berlin’s politics are “not elitist, instead in their attitude more plebeian and bourgeois,” he said.

Another problem is that “40 percent of all births take place in the lower class,” which doesn’t take part in the normal economy.

“We must completely change family policy: away from cash benefits, above all in the lower class,” he told the magazine.

Sarrazin, who began his Bundesbank post in May, also said that the Hauptstadt needs to change its approach towards economic development. “The media is oriented toward social problems, but Turkish homeless shelters won’t bring the city forward,” he said.

“I would aim for a completely different tone and say: Each person who can do something and strives for something with us is welcome. The rest should go somewhere else,” the 63-year-old said.



2009/09/30 11:10

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