• Germany's news in English

Germany seeks better integration of immigrants

The Local · 3 Nov 2010, 20:00

Published: 03 Nov 2010 10:50 GMT+01:00
Updated: 03 Nov 2010 20:00 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The discussions were meant to tie the country's 16 million people with an "immigration background" closer to German society. It was the fourth such event since 2006, but this time it has attracted more attention as a result of an acrid immigration debate.

Speaking after the summit, Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her recent comments that multiculturalism had failed. She said diversity had made Germany stronger but that immigrants must be better integrated.

"What I mean to say is that for years, for decades, the approach was that integration was not something that needed to be addressed, that people would live side-by-side and that it would sort itself out by itself," Merkel said.

"This turned out to be false. What in fact is needed is a political effort and an effort by society as a whole to make integration happen ... Diversity in society is something that has always made our country stronger."

The conservative Christian Democrat also said that immigrants and their descendants had to speak German in order to play a role in society and live up to German "values."

"This is something that I see as being the opposite of what I meant by multiculturalism," Merkel told reporters.

Ahead of the integration summit, federal integration commissioner Maria Böhmer had echoed the chancellor's comments.

“Ambiguity doesn’t help integration and neither does masking problems,” she told national broadcaster Deutschlandfunk.

The centre-right government has been right to take a stand for both demanding and supporting integration, she said. “We want one to understand diversity in our country as a chance and not a burden,” she said.

The integration summit launched a national action plan for improved measurement of immigration initiatives.

The main theme of this year’s meeting was the improved recognition of foreign educational and professional qualifications to give potential immigrants better job prospects in Germany.

During the first summit in 2006, immigrant leaders and German politicians shared a table for the first time. The second event closed with leaders on both sides agreeing to some 400 voluntary commitments.

The third summit set the goal of lowering the number of school drop-outs with immigrant background from 12 to six percent – the same level as that of German students.

Ahead of the discussions, Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger had also called for an end to the deportation of well-integrated juveniles.

Story continues below…

“We can’t seriously discuss controlled immigration while simultaneously banishing those who fulfil all of the requirements of successful integration,” the pro-business Free Democrat told daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

These young people, who have often established a solid position in German society through their own hard work should instead have a “concrete prospect of naturalisation,” she told the paper.

The constant threat of deportation is intolerable for those who have long called Germany their home, she said.

“A change in residency law is past due,” she said.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

17:18 November 3, 2010 by Nancy Hewett
Allowing Dual Citizenship is the only reasonable solution. Otherwise, only those who have little to lose by trashing their old passport will stay as citizens. They are not the best choice for your country. Demonstrated ability to perform successfully should be the criterion for citizenship.
20:48 November 3, 2010 by Aschaffenburgboy
Right on the money Nancy!
21:30 November 3, 2010 by majura
What Nancy said!

Integration is not assimilation. I respect and accept Germany, its history and culture. However I will always be who I am and part of that is being Australian.
04:39 November 4, 2010 by Garth Rex

Beware that Germnany does not fall victim to the British experience of too many immigrants!
09:26 November 4, 2010 by storymann
There should be no doubt that open immigration in non immigrant nations will weaken and erode their present unity and culture. This is not to say that a newer and more diverse culture is better or worse,only time will answer that.
03:25 November 5, 2010 by brnskin2010
CAVEAT!!!!!!! open immigration is not a wise choice.....Germany you have examples (USA/British) of what immigration is capable of......No sooner than you can blink your eyes Germany will be over ran with immigrants......once that happens and they have citizenship...infiltrate the German government from all levels....then you will start having advocacy groups being formed and the next thing they will be demanding that laws be put in place for the benefits of their culture and German will no longer be German....but Turkish......What I don't understand is why don't they stand up and make demands in their own countries. I don't know of any Americans or Germans immigrating to their country and setting up shop..making demands that they be accomodated......Why??? because they won't tolerate foreigners coming into their country forcing their views and their way of life on to them....CAVEAT GERMANY...........
18:22 November 5, 2010 by Nancy Hewett
I am a United States Citizen. My country was created by immigrants. Diversity defines us. Demonstrated ability to perform is valued in the United States.
18:24 November 5, 2010 by jsbplease

Read about the true story of Nataji Subhash Chandra Bose

The reality of Truth

Es ist keine Religion Hoehe als Die Wahrheit.

In wirchlichkeit .... Singapore Azad Hind came to berlin.

In 1942 India had 400 million citizens

In 2010 the number is in excess of 1.2 Billion.

In April 2 million staff set out to give each living soul

the new national identity card....

Since The Fuehrer saluted Bose and said you are a greater

General than I am, you are a greater Fuehrer than I am,

we fail to see even now the truth how Germany liberated

the Indian Colony from The British.

Jesus... What a Force to unleash.

Gott mit Uns.........

The most common Family Name in Great Britain in 2,010ad is PATEL.

we love Germans, yours, Abdullah.
Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd