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Allotment gardeners told to prune racial quotas

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Allotment gardeners told to prune racial quotas
Photo: DPA
12:11 CET+01:00
A group of allotment owners in northern Germany have been told to turn over a new leaf after they set a limit on how many people with foreign roots should be allowed to join their garden community.

The mayor of Norderstedt, near Hamburg, demanded the group drop their “migrant quota” which sets a 12.6 percent limit on what share of the allotment spaces known as Schrebergärten be granted to people of foreign heritage.

The Krengelkrugweg allotment owners voted on a number of proposals at their annual meeting at the end of October – including various suggestions on setting a limit for immigrants, according to the Die Welt newspaper.

Of the 70 people who voted, 59 voted in favour of setting some sort of limit. Of these, five said they favoured a quota of 27 percent – the share of people with foreign backgrounds in Hamburg.

A further 13 voted for a quota of 19.2 percent – the share of minorities in Germany, while 41 carried their motion to set the limit at 12.6 percent – the share of immigrants in the state of Schleswig-Holstein.

This means that of the 73 allotments on the project, just nine should be rented to people with foreign roots.

And fittingly, given the stereotype of German allotment owners measuring the height of their neighbours' lawns and laying down schedules for hedge trimming, the group also set out rules on what kind of foreigners would be allowed to join them.

Of the 12.6 percent of allotments set aside, 25 percent would be granted to those with Turkish or Arabic backgrounds, a further 25 percent given to those with eastern European roots and the other 50 percent for miscellaneous “others.”

Die Welt reported that minutes of the meeting showed that at least some of the allotment owners had opposed the quota idea – and threatened to go public about it. In the end the minutes landed on the desk of Hans-Joachim Grote, mayor of Norderstedt.

He has told the allotment owners that the “migrant limit” must be nipped in the bud because it was discriminatory and unconstitutional. If they refuse, he said he would move to try to kick them off the land, Die Welt reported.

Along with the Christian Democrat mayor, the Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats have all also spoken out – as have the state association of gardeners and the Turkish-German friendship association, the paper said.

The allotment owners are set to hold a special meeting next Thursday to discuss the mayor's demand that they dump their “migrant limit” and distance themselves from the idea.

The Local/hc

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