In May 2012, Bilkay Öney will have been in office as Integration Minister in the German state of Baden-Württemberg for one year. The Turkish-born politician says she is privileged and told DW about her work.
If you look at integration policies in Germany: what seems to work?
I wish I could answer that question with a lot of positive aspects. But in general, the integration debate is often difficult. We often talk at cross purposes. The migrants don't know what the majority wants and what it regards as integration and vice versa. In that respect, I believe we have to articulate much more clearly what it is we want - so do the migrants. Accusations from the one side are followed by explanations from the other. Somehow, we can't see eye to eye and I get the impression that the battle lines are drawn. It would be good if we could break that up - which can only work if we open up to an honest debate and dare address issues that might be uncomfortable or might be viewed in a critical light. More self-criticism on the part of the migrants as well as the majority society is called for.
What else can migrants do to contribute to integration?
They could more often take up offers to integrate. What good is the best concept for integration if migrants don't take advantage of it. We have to pitch integration; it has to be clear that efforts toward integration are worthwhile. Otherwise, migrants will feel offended and withdraw into their corner.