Government to offer immigrants integration aid
11 July 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Germany's cabinet Wednesday offered extra funding for projects to teach immigrants German, but ethnic Turkish groups said Berlin was doing too little and backed out of talks on better integration.
11 July 2007
Berlin (dpa) - Germany's cabinet Wednesday offered extra funding for projects to teach immigrants German, but ethnic Turkish groups said Berlin was doing too little and backed out of talks on better integration.
Chancellor Angela Merkel was set Thursday to host a meeting at her office with ethnic minorities, her second "Integration Summit" in the space of a year.
She was to brief the summit on new spending authorized Wednesday by cabinet to speed up language acquisition by migrants. Alarm has been growing in Berlin at the rise of poor, foreign-language ghettoes in main cities.
Four Turkish organizations said they would stay away in protest at legislation last week that tightened immigration rules, denying spousal residency visas to Turkish women if they do not speak German.
Merkel responded in a television interview, "We are offering the hand of friendship. If they have concerns, we can talk about it, but only when we remain in dialogue."
Maria Boehmer, the federal migration commissioner, said language courses were among 150 measures in the package, which also aimed at easing access by children of immigrants to apprenticeships and degree courses.
"The federal government is decisively helping to improve the integration of 15 million people in migrant families in this country," Boehmer said.
Germany has a population of nearly 82 million, of whom 7.3 million are not German citizens, according to official statistics.
The German student welfare federation said Wednesday that only 8 per cent of tertiary students came from such migrant families, according to a late 2006 survey of 17,000 students.
Subject: German news