Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel On Their Multicultural Society: “The approach has failed, utterly failed…”
ddchalmers | October 17, 2010
(composite video) Germany’s attempt to create a multicultural society has “utterly failed,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said…, adding fuel to a debate over immigration and Islam polarizing her conservative camp.
Speaking to a meeting of young members of her Christian Democrats (CDU), Merkel said allowing people of different cultural backgrounds to live side by side without integrating had not worked in a country that is home to some four million Muslims.
“This (multicultural) approach has failed, utterly failed,” Merkel told the meeting in Potsdam, south of Berlin. Merkel faces pressure from within her CDU to take a tougher line on immigrants who don’t show a willingness to adapt to German society and her comments appeared intended to pacify her critics.
She said too little had been required of immigrants in the past and repeated her usual line that they should learn German in order to get by in school and have opportunities on the labor market.
The debate over foreigners in Germany has shifted since former central banker Thilo Sarrazin published a book accusing Muslim immigrants of lowering the intelligence of German society. Sarrazin was censured for his views and dismissed from the Bundesbank, but his book proved highly popular and polls showed a majority of Germans agreed with the thrust of his arguments.
Merkel has tried to accommodate both sides of the debate, talking tough on integration but also telling Germans that they must accept that mosques have become part of their landscape. She said on Saturday that the education of unemployed Germans should take priority over recruiting workers from abroad, while noting Germany could not get by without skilled foreign workers.
In a weekend newspaper interivew, her Labor Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) raised the possibility of lowering barriers to entry for some foreign workers in order to fight the lack of skilled workers in Europe’s largest economy. “For a few years, more people have been leaving our country than entering it,” she told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. “Wherever it is possible, we must lower the entry hurdles for those who bring the country forward.”
The German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) says Germany lacks about 400,000 skilled workers…..http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE69F1K320101016
*FROM 30 November, 2004: Germans argue over integration – Decades of consensus about a multicultural society have been thrown into question recently as leading German politicians suggest that minorities living in the country need to do more to fit in.
Many Turks found work during Germany’s economic miracle
“The notion of multiculturalism has fallen apart,” said opposition conservative leader Angela Merkel in a recent interview. “Anyone coming here must respect our constitution and tolerate our Western and Christian roots…”
The debate centres largely around the three million-strong Muslim community – mostly Turkish, with Bosnians making up the next largest group, followed by people of Arab origin.
It was sparked by the killing of Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh, and subsequent attacks in the Netherlands on Muslim and Christian sites. Fears that something similar could happen in Germany were fanned by a TV broadcast in which a secret recording caught an imam telling worshippers that Germans would “burn in hell” because they were unbelievers.
This has been followed by a raft of new proposals for better integration of the Muslim community, against a backdrop of fears that Muslims in Germany inhabit a “parallel society” centred around mosques infiltrated by “hate preachers”.
“A democracy cannot tolerate lawless zones or parallel societies,” declared Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. “Immigrants must respect our laws and acknowledge our democratic ways of doing things….. It’s a quite frank debate on what we Germans expect of those people coming to us as immigrants,” says Nikolaus Blome, commentator with Die Welt newspaper.
“If multiculturalism means that it’s OK for 30,000 Turks to live in a certain quarter of Berlin, and never leave, and live like they’re still in deepest Turkey, then the term is now discredited…”http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4056109.stm
Ms Merkel said two out of three children under the age of five have a migrant background. And while in the 1960s people were brought to Germany as guest workers — there was never an expectation that they would stay forever.
“They live side by side with us. For a while, we lied to ourselves, saying they will disappear again one day. But that’s not the reality,” she said. “To say we are happy about living side by side… is wrong. The approach has failed, utterly failed…” http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/13…
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