Many in Germany have long been skeptical of immigration. Now, a conservative Berlin politician has proposed requiring immigrants to take an intelligence test before being allowed in. His idea has not been well received.
Germany's conservatives have never been terribly coherent when it comes to immigration. Despite a stubbornly low birth rate and what many consider to be a developing need for skilled foreign labor, members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) have long been unwilling to roll out the welcome mat.
On Monday, the party once again made a less-than-fortunate foray into the immigration debate. Peter Trapp, a domestic policy expert with the CDU in Berlin, demanded in an interview with the mass-circulation tabloid Bild that would-be immigrants to Germany be given intelligence tests before they are allowed in.
This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog - islamineurope.blogspot.com
"We have to establish criteria for immigration that really benefit our country," Trapp said. "In addition to adequate education and job qualifications, one benchmark should be intelligence. I am in favor of intelligence tests for immigrants. We cannot continue to make this issue taboo."
Trapp received support from Markus Ferber, a member of the European Parliament for the Christian Social Union, the CDU's Bavarian sister party. Ferber said: "We need a unified policy for Europe. Canada is much further along on the issue and requires that children of immigrants have a higher IQ than those born in Canada."
The CDU on Monday was at pains to play down the comments made by Trapp and Ferber. Given Berlin's focus on improving the integration of the country's immigrant population, Maria Böhmer, who has been tasked by Merkel with improving integration, rejected the call for intelligence tests.
Such comments do not promote "a culture of welcoming, which would do our country good," Böhmer said. "The demand for an IQ test for immigrants is absurd and does not demonstrate much intelligence."