The federal government's integration commissioner, Maria Böhmer, on Thursday announced she backed an initiative to make sure civil service employment better reflected the population of Germany – where every fifth resident has an immigration background.
But on Friday politicians from her own conservatives as well as those from the opposition centre-left Social Democrats rejected any sort of affirmative action to boost recruitment.
“A quota is not compatible with our constitutional and legal culture,” SPD deputy parliamentary group leader Olaf Scholz told daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Scholz said that the goal was admirable, but a target was not suitable for its achievement. Instead personnel management in the public sector should be more active in bringing people from immigrant backgrounds into their fold, he said.
Meanwhile conservative MP Hans-Peter Uhl also said he rejected legal requirements to employ a certain sector of the population.
“It's a legal automatism that leads to abuse,” he told the paper, adding that such a measure would only be suitable for cities, because rural areas had a lower proportion of immigrants.
But the head of the TGD Turkish advocacy group Kenan Kolat told daily Berliner Zeitung that he was in favour of the initiative.
“Only a quota can insure that the population structure mirrors itself in public and administrative offices,” he said, rejecting the assumption that too few immigrants possess the skills to qualify for such jobs.
Kolat also pointed out that there had already been successful programmes in Berlin and Hamburg to integrate people with immigration background into public jobs.