• Germany's news in English

Merkel 'hangs out' online to discuss integration

The Local · 20 Apr 2013, 14:08

Published: 20 Apr 2013 14:08 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Initial technical glitches, which threatened to pull the plug on proceedings, were overcome to facilitate a conversation which some commentators are describing as civilized and uninspiring in equal measure.

Presenter Marc Weiß opened the discussion and invited each of the guests, who were lined up in neat boxes at the bottom of the screen, to introduce themselves.

They included a medical student who runs a forum for Muslim scholarship holders, a community worker offering intercultural sports sessions, a high school teacher and a police officer tasked with recruiting employees with foreign backgrounds.

Merkel’s appearance on a live online platform comes after Barack Obama participated in a half-hour question and answer session on user-generated entertainment site Reddit last year.

The discussion, which included pre-arranged questions from the guests and others submitted by email, ran smoothly but did not provide much insight into future policy direction.

Merkel’s responses were measured and went largely unchallenged.

In response to a question on how to tackle the negative images associated with people with foreign roots, Merkel said the key was that they be represented in all walks of life. She expressed the desire to see as many people with so-called migrant backgrounds going to university as Germans, but was quick to qualify – “that is (Germans) that have been in Germany for a long time.”

She went on to cite the example of a German actor with migrant roots who complained of always being offered the roles of drug baron or other criminal but who longed to be cast in another role, such as mayor.

“Every person must be viewed as an individual,” the chancellor said. “I can’t just look at North Germans and say ‘They can’t talk and stay silent the whole time,’ or ‘Bavarians laugh all the time and drink beer.’ We must take each person as they are.”

Story continues below…

In the run-up to the federal election in September however, the chancellor will be hoping that her personal glowing satisfaction rating will be reflected in the CDU's performance as a whole.

The Local/kkf

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Eurowings braces as cabin crew union proclaims strike
Photo: DPA

A union representing cabin crew for Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings announced that strikes could take place at any time over the next two weeks, starting on Monday.

Mysterious German U-boat wreckage found off Scotland
Photo: ScottishPower

First World War U-boat "attacked by sea monster” thought to be found off Scottish coast.

Supermarket Edeka warns of exploding apple juice bottles
Photo: DPA

"Risk of injury" from "Gut und Günstig" sparkling apple juice bottles has forced Germany's largest supermarket to recall the product.

By wheelchair from Syria to Germany: teen's story of hope
Nujeen Mustafa. Photo: HarperCollins-William Collins Publicity/Private

She tackled the gruelling 2,000-kilometre migrant trail in a wheelchair, translating along the way for other refugees using English she learned from a US soap opera. Now this teen is living in Germany and hoping to inspire others with a newly published memoir.

Berlin Zoo to have a pair of pandas by next summer
A recently born panda pair at Vienna Zoo. Photo: DPA

The giant bamboo-eating bears will move into a brand new 5,000 square-metre enclosure in the capital's Zoologischer Garten.

Two new spider species discovered in Munich
Zoropsis spinimana. Photo: rankingranqueen / Wikimedia Commons

It's news every arachnophobe in Munich is no doubt thrilled to hear: two types of spider new to the region have been discovered in the Bavarian capital - and one of them bites!

After woman's body found in barrel, husband may walk free
Franziska S., who went missing 24 years ago. Photo: Hanover police.

A woman disappeared in Hanover 24 years ago, but no one reported her missing. Although her husband has now confessed to her murder, he still may not step foot in jail.

Two injured after army tank falls 50 metres in Alps
A Bundeswehr Puma tank. File photo: DPA

A Bundeswehr (German army) soldier has been severely injured after the tank he was riding in crashed 50 metres down an embankment after going off course in bad weather.

Teen girl stands trial for 'Isis' police stabbing in Hanover
Police guard the courthouse in Celle. Photo: DPA

A teenage girl stands trial from Thursday in Germany for stabbing a police officer, an assault allegedly "ordered" by Isis but which was not claimed by the jihadist group.

Merkel threatens Putin with more sanctions on Berlin visit
Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel created a united front with French President Francois Hollande in Berlin on Thursday to denounce Russia’s “war crimes” in Syria.

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