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Merkel calls for more minority public servants

The Local · 16 Jan 2012, 08:59

Published: 16 Jan 2012 08:59 GMT+01:00

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Merkel’s speech about increasing the number of minorities in public service was slammed as nothing but hot air by the Green party.

Speaking in a video podcast on Saturday, Merkel had pointed out that nearly a fifth of people living in Germany had their roots in a different country, and said that integration was a task of national importance.

“It is a long process and it is important that migrants do their part, just like those who have lived here a long time,” she said.

But Renate Künast, head of the Green parliamentary party said Merkel’s comments were, “almost cynical.” She said children of migrants were leaving Germany because they were not getting a fair chance. “No podcast and no further integration conference at which it is just talking, can help there,” said Künast.

She said Germany needed to encourage people to become citizens, to accept multiple citizenships, and to get rid of the rule which forced young people born in Germany to foreign parents to choose between nationalities.

“In case the Chancellor had not noticed, many public official jobs carry civil servant status which requires German citizenship,” said Künast.

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The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:15 January 16, 2012 by twisted
Change the law - if you are born in Germany, you should be German. And if your parents are non-Germans and if the country of their citizenship recognizes you as a citizen, so be it. On the other hand, if certain types of employment require only German citizenship, then the applicant should be required to forgo the second. Germany (and the average German) needs to learn to take advantage of the skills and intellect of its 20% population.
10:33 January 16, 2012 by ovalle3.14
I don't know if this is currently the case, but for example joining the Bundeswehr could be more attractive if per 2 years of active service, you needed 1 year less of residence to apply for citizenship.

It just sometimes seems to me that there is a very large sector of the population in Germany who refuses to accept some truths.
11:28 January 16, 2012 by christopheuk25
Is this the same woman that not long ago stated multiculturalism does not work.Most immigrants that flowed (and still do) into Europe and the UK come only for the welfare benefits,most can't even speak their hosts language and have no interest in doing so.Serious civil unrest is heading to all of Europe and the UK with regards to the lack of control of immigration.
12:39 January 16, 2012 by Navigator_B
Instead of preaching she could set an example by tackling the xenophobia within her own party that turns off people from a foreign background from becoming members. Even East Germans are seen as so foreign that none of them are allowed to be ministers in the government.
12:41 January 16, 2012 by dxlman
I am English and have lived and worked in Germany for over twelve years. My wife is Russian. Whenever I tried to get help for my wife to attend a German language course we were always met with unhelpful civil servants, some even telling total lies about where and how to get help.

So for Ms Merkel to say that foreigners don't want to integrate is untrue, it is her workers who are unwilling to help those who wish to integrate, start to integrate by learning the language.

Ms Künast is totally correct, this is just a smoke screen!
14:00 January 16, 2012 by jg.
It would be sensible if Germany allowed citizens to hold multiple nationalities, rather than forcing people to choose - especially children with mixed heritage. If Germany did allow multiple citizenships, I don't then see the problem with requiring German citizenship for public sector jobs.

However, as others have commented, the first problem is that many public officials who are supposed to assist integration plainly have problems in dealing with foreigners. My own observations are that people of colour and Slavs can expect to be treated with nothing short of contempt by some German officials. One wonders how such people end up in roles which involve dealing with foreigners and whether their selection for these positions reflects the attitude of the local government.
16:31 January 16, 2012 by Wise Up!
"I have a dream that children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. "

Stop giving special privileges to protected ethnic groups.
16:59 January 16, 2012 by Snapply
@wise up

wut are you even talking about?
17:34 January 16, 2012 by mixxim 1
Good idea - you could then have a headline: Kurdish Girl murdered by Civil Servant. This would then take any racist element out of the story and the public's estimation of civil servants would drop to English levels.
17:45 January 16, 2012 by AClassicRed
I'll have to second dxlman's comment. A close friend of mine's application was consistently denied by the integration office to take language courses because, they were told, they were American. According to Germany, some people have more difficulty "integrating" and Americans weren't on the list. They said those services were primarily for Asians, Africans and others who were joining their partner in Germany.

From my view that's basically not only encouraging certain foreigners to immigrate, but to have more children. So a single, childless adult looking to learn the language and eventually find work is denied, while some who can't (because of visa) or don't work are approved for the courses, and seem to concentrate on having children as a profession.

In my own situation, I have years experience in law enforcement, was actually born in Germany yet would not be approved or allowed to work in that profession in lieu of Germans only. Ideally the percentages would reflect the population demographics but in Germany, yes, overwhelmingly you have public servants who are Caucasian German.

Merkel may say things like this, but I feel it is very unlikely to happen. There will be a big show and fuss, and nothing will come of it.
17:52 January 16, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ Navigator_B

You are right, no East German is allowed to be minister in the current government - they can become only chancellors :). At least one of the ministers is born in Belgium, one in South Vietnam and one lived quite a while in Saxony. As for CDU membership, even those without German citizenship can become members. You can also read about CDU in Lower Saxony trying to attract more foreigners (they actually say that specifically people from Poland and former Soviet Union countries have values that are a good fit): http://www.abendblatt.de/region/norddeutschland/article147218/CDU-will-Auslaender-umwerben.html (I hope you are not one of those who spent time in Germany without learning the language).

@ dxlman & AClassicRed

We cannot make judgments based on anecdotal evidence. I know many foreigners learning German at Volkshochschule that had no problem to find the courses and to register. Two of these foreigners are Russian women and three are Americans, so I don't think nationality is an issue here.

@ jg.

You can see also from the examples above that my experience show that Slavs are not treated differently. I do not know many people of colour living in Germany, so I cannot say much about this (even if those that I know had not really have reasons to complain).

Otherwise I agree with what was quoted here both from Ms. Merkel and Ms. Künast (they do not really contradict each other).
19:41 January 16, 2012 by carlm
More liberal diversity to dumb down the country a little more. What ever happened to hiring the best man/women for the job, which obviously didn't happen with chancellor pantsuit?
19:50 January 16, 2012 by jg.

My wife is from Ukraine and we have many Russian/Ukrainian friends here in Germany - some have German citizenship, some do not. Most of them have spoken of discrimination, particularly in issues relating to employment, pay or recognition of qualifications.
20:45 January 16, 2012 by Navigator_B

The Vietnamese-born Philipp Rösler is not a member of the CDU. Ursula von der Leyen was the daughter of a German politician in the EEC/EU in Brussels, so she did not grow up like a typical Bergian. Angela Merkel was not a typical East German either because she was born in Hamburg and her family was free to travel between East and West Germany, but she still faced a lot of opposition in her party for being an Ossi.

Whatever efforts are made and whatever progress is made in attracting people from a foreign background into the CDU, it will come to nothing if prominent CDU figures continue with their populist criticism of foreigners.  
21:07 January 16, 2012 by ChrisRea

I apologise - I understood your statement "Even East Germans are seen as so foreign that none of them are allowed to be ministers in the government." as being related to ministers, not to CDU members.

I am not taking the side of CDU. I am just saying that we should look at all the things involved and try to avoid extreme statements.

@ jg.

Yes, indeed, my point(s) exactly. First - we cannot support a generic conclusion with anecdotal evidence. Second - Slavs are not treated differently. I can also give plenty of specific examples of non-Slav foreigners in Germany that were discriminated.
00:56 January 17, 2012 by Russk
In the UK, the former [Labour] Government introduced systems to discriminate against British people. All laws and government systems now appear to discriminate against British White people in favour of ethnic minorities. Many people from minority backgrounds, including people who have only been in the country for a short time, are making up stories and causing trouble, just so that they can claim that British people are being racist. Naturally, this is causing many tensions and with economic austerity measures will probably blow up into something much bigger.

Angela Merkel was correct when she stated that multiculturalism doesn't work - it really doesn't, and when it is backed up by an obsession with political correctness as it was in the UK under the Labour Government, many problems will be created. If people want to live in Germany, they should accept German only citizenship and adapt to German culture. If they don't want to do that, they should leave. It is very simple.
09:13 January 17, 2012 by dbert4
Why do some people expect that the German government "provide help" to take or attend German lanuage classes or courses? They could try the path that many of the rest of us use, VHS or private language schools.
09:41 January 17, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ dbert4

The German government does actually provide help with the language courses. At a fee of about 1 euro/hour, one realises that VHS is heavily subsidised.
04:14 January 18, 2012 by lewis69
I dont really see how more minority public servants could be benifecial in any way there is the language barrier problem the culture barrier problem and I could have sworn Merkel said not long ago that multiculture was a fail which I belive it is.

Typical politicians flip floping on thier ideals I wish there was a politician with some back bone who wasn't afraid to anger a couple people and take a stand for what they truly belive in no matter left or right wing insted of changing their stance to please every one.
13:23 January 18, 2012 by floda_reltih
With so much predicted shortfall of skilled labour and the average age of employees being around 35+ years in Germany and the increase in retirement age for public office employees , they soon would be forced to ease entry of immigrants into government jobs as well. The sooner they go beyond the language barrier and start speaking English as well in public offices, the better their chances of being known to be friendly and multicultural and maybe even avoid intercultural problems.
16:52 January 18, 2012 by LecteurX
@ lewis69 - did you have to pay for every punctuation mark to use in your comment?
17:12 January 18, 2012 by jkern3
This is the same Merkel who said that "multiculturalism has failed" and that you can't be German unless you accept "Christian Judeo view and culture". It's also the same Merkel that stopped nuclear energy dead in its tracks as a knee jerk reaction to a reactor accident in Japan. Merkel apparently just says whatever she thinks sounds good and people want to hear.

In my experience, deep down, Germans still think of themselves and their culture as vastly superior to everybody else's. When Merkel speaks of "integration", I think what she really means is that she wants others to give up their culture and become fully German, and if they do that, then (and only then) their skin color or origin doesn't matter much anymore.
22:30 January 18, 2012 by mit141284
I am a British born citizen of Asian heritage and I have worked quite hard in my career to date, qualifying as a chartered accountant with several years of experience in the finance / oil and gas industry and I am still in my mid 30s. To me Germany holds an attractive factor, having been over there and spent some time in places like Frankfurt and Hamburg.

If language was no barrier, I would seriously contemplate making the move, and I would obviously be willing to learn German. It just seems that when I apply to English speaking jobs in my field, German is a prerequisite, even though I would work to gain a greater understanding of the language in no time.
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