German bid at multi-cultural society has failed: Merkel

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Germany's attempts to create a multi-cultural society in which people from various cultural backgrounds live together peacefully have failed, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday.

"Multikulti", the concept that "we are now living side by side and are happy about it," does not work, Merkel told a meeting of younger members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party at Potsdam near Berlin.

"This approach has failed, totally," she said.

Merkel spoke a week after talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which they pledged to do more to improve the often poor integration record of Germany's 2.5-million-strong Turkish community.

Horst Seehofer, the leader of the CDU's Bavarian sister party, CSU, told the same party meeting Friday that the two Union parties were "committed to a dominant German culture and opposed to a multicultural one.

"'Multikulti' is dead," he said.

While warning against "immigration that weighs down on our social system", Merkel said that Germany needed specialists from overseas to keep the pace of its economic development.

According to the head of the German chamber of commerce and industry, Hans Heinrich Driftmann, Germany is in urgent need of about 400,000 engineers and qualified workers.

"The lack is causing a loss of growth of about one percent," he said in an interview.

Jewish leaders in Germany meanwhile warned that German society and democracy were under threat from extremists.

A recent expert study should prompt the government to act against antidemocratic ideas, the secretary general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Stephan Kramer, told the Rheinpfalz am Sonntag weekly.

The study, by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation think tank, showed that more than one third (34.3 percent) of those surveyed believed Germany's 16 million immigrants or people with foreign origins came to the country for the social benefits.

Around the same number (35.6 percent) think Germany is being "over-run by foreigners" and more than one in 10 called for a "Fuehrer" to run the country "with a strong hand".

Thirty-two percent of people said they agreed with the statement: "Foreigners should be sent home when jobs are scarce."

Far-right attitudes are found not only at the extremes of German society, but "to a worrying degree at the centre of society," the report noted.

More than half (58.4 percent) of the 2,411 people polled thought the around four million Muslims in Germany should have their religious practices "significantly curbed."

The integration of Muslims has been a hot button issue since August when a member of Germany's central bank sparked outrage by saying the country was being made "more stupid" by poorly educated and unproductive Muslim migrants with headscarves.

The banker, Thilo Sarrazin, has since resigned but his book on the subject -- "Germany Does Itself In" -- has flown off the shelves, and polls showed considerable sympathy for some of his views.

Kramer also criticised CSU leader Seehofer for ideas which he said were "not only petty but outright irresponsible" and slammed the current immigration debate as "hysterical".

© 2010 AFP

3 Comments To This Article

  • BelgianGerman posted:

    on 15th November 2010, 23:47:41 - Reply

    You guys don't know what you're talking about, it is really going wrong here in europe. people are scared off the muslims and foreign people. "Native" kids got beaten up in school just because they are "native".
    If you know your history this is pointing to something from the past, just a little bit different.
    eventually the "native" people will have their new Fuehrer and then there are a lot of things going to happen. BELIEVE ME.
    look at holland PVV has become a really big party since the last ellections.

    I'm not a racist, i'm a realist
  • knowTheEnemy posted:

    on 17th October 2010, 07:57:59 - Reply

    well, multiculturism is thriving in Canada and to a good extent in the US. Merkel’s diagnosis is wrong. The reason why MultiKulti has failed in Germany is because almost all the immigrants there are ‘muslim’. Muslims are required by their religion NOT to integrate with kafirs (infidels). And unlike followers of other faiths, the muslims all over the world are serious about their religion.
    BTW the only people who are not integrating in Canada are the muslims.

    Source of analysis:
  • John Woodcote posted:

    on 16th October 2010, 21:38:07 - Reply

    It is not "far right" for a people to desire to live sovereign and free in its own land. The fascism and racism belongs to those who force race-replacement immigration on European peoples - something they would never force on others.