Germany: SPD Boss Calls for Tougher Integration Measures

Germany: SPD Boss Calls for Tougher Integration Measures

It's interesting to see Gabriel's response to the question "what does integration mean to you".  He seems to hold by Tariq Ramadan's standard (integration = law, language, loyalty).  He doesn't mention values, which I think is much more basic.

Via Spiegel:

The head of Germany's center-left Social Democratic Party, Sigmar Gabriel, has told SPIEGEL ONLINE that the country should get tough on immigrants who are unwilling to learn the language and integrate. He says they should be supported, but that the government and society should also make demands.

Sigmar Gabriel, the head of Germany's center-left Social Democratic Party, is calling for tougher integration policies in his country. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE on Monday, he said that immigrants who refuse to participate in programs offered by the government to help foreigners integrate are as unwelcome as hate preachers who have found homes in some of the country's mosques and receive their funding from abroad.

The SPD leader's comments attracted criticism from the Green Party. Veteran Green politician Volker Beck described his words as the "beating of the drum against immigrants with cheap populist politics."


SPIEGEL: What does integration mean to you?

Gabriel: First it means supporting people: Offering language training, family education centers in social problem areas and creating more all-day schools and teaching positions. We also need to express to the public the many successful examples of integration. Germany should be proud of how many children of immigrant guest worker families have for a long time now been becoming scientists, skilled workers or entrepreneurs. But we also, of course, need to make demands. Regardless whether a person is German or a foreigner: We will send out the police to visit anyone who doesn't send their children to school regularly and punctually and also make them pay painful fines -- even if that person is a Hartz IV (social welfare) recipient. Those who reject integration programs in the long term have as little right to stay in Germany as a hate preacher paid from abroad in a mosque. And, in cases of emergency, we need a much greater police presence at focal points of criminality.

SPIEGEL: That's what you mean by demands?

Gabriel: Yes, that too. The Germans' sense of security is also something that one must respect. The mayor of Vienna recently brought in more security forces to ensure that house rules are abided by in apartment buildings owned by the city. He no longer wanted to accept the fact that more and more local residents were moving away and that large housing estates comprised of foreigners were forming.