Government wants to drive integration forward

Government wants to drive integration forward

"We must become clearer and more binding in our objectives," said chancellor angela merkel (CDU) at the fifth integration summit in berlin on tuesday. The summit did not produce any tangible results. "We have to gradually move from model programs to permanent offers for improved integration," said merkel.

Opposition and associations reacted very critically. Instead of more and more new plans, concrete steps are needed, they warned. Around 16 million immigrants and their children live in germany.

The vice chairman of the alevi community in germany, ali ertan toprak, said that more progress had been made in integration policy in recent years than in previous decades. But efforts often focused on immigrant deficits or technical integration issues. "We must finally reach the hearts of the people. We must finally develop a sense of we," he said. With the right-wing terrorist murders of nine business owners of turkish and greek origin, many migrants had lost confidence. He called for more immigrants in the civil service – including in the police and schools.

In july 2006, chancellor merkel invited to the first summit. The 120 or so participants in the integration summit have now adopted an action plan that sets out concrete projects and targets.

Merkel announces next integration summit for first half of 2013. Then there should also be more results on the state of integration. According to a recent report by the government, integration is progressing only slowly. Migrants continue to have a harder time – among other things, in the job market and at school.

Merkel, however, opposed a quota in the civil service. "I think a quota at every point is not necessarily helpful." The federal government’s integration commissioner, maria bohmer (CDU), said that with a 9.9 percent share of migrants in the public sector, "we are by no means satisfied.".

Massive criticism of the integration summit came from the greens and the left: the spokesman for migration and integration policy of the grunen faction, memet kilic, spoke of a "symbolic coffee wreath. He demanded lower hurdles for citizenship and an extension of the right to vote in municipal elections to non-EU citizens. Left-wing executive committee members ali al dailami and katina schubert called for comprehensive reforms of the law on nationality and electoral law, as well as an action plan against racism.

SPD federal vice president aydan ozoguz told the "hamburger abendblatt" (tuesday): "the integration summit a few years ago was an important signal. In the meantime, however, this symbol has faded."On deutschlandradio, the migration expert of the SPD parliamentary group demanded that adopted concepts be translated into government action. Grunen party leader cem ozdemir criticized: "the integration summits have become nothing more than a series of events that are nothing more than symbolic politics."The increase in the number of migrants in the public sector was announced years ago.

Federal justice minister sabine leutheusser-schnarrenberger (FDP) told the "hamburger abendblatt" (wednesday) that germany needs new legal regulations for immigration – namely a points system like in canada, based on criteria like language skills and education. Despite the high demand, there has hardly been any targeted immigration of foreign specialists to germany so far.