Julia Klöckner, a senior colleague of Angela Merkel’s, has demanded that immigrants to liberal Germany adapt to their new country’s culture and not the other way round. With over 230,000 migrants arriving this year, the Huffington Post reports there is a huge effort to integrate them into liberal Germany while still respecting their culture. However, not all of Germany’s politicians appear so keen on the second part of that equation.
Julia Klöckner, a senior member of Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, told the Germa n newspaper Bild in an interview that it is not Germany that has to change, but many of the immigrants. In doing so she set out four essentials for integration.
First comes an awareness of equality. Men and boys coming to liberal Germany from conservative Islamic countries must accept that women in positions of responsibility are as validly ‘elders’ as men. There will be no concessions to a ‘Medieval’ model of equality in the labour market.
It is thought this aspect of Klöckner’s thinking may stem from the recent refusal by an imam in a refugee camp run by the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief to shake her hand. About that occasion in Idar-Oberstein she said: “There are some positions in Germany, which are non-negotiable.”
She acknowledged that in her belief both sides have obligations – Germany to promote integration, for example with language courses, and immigrants to be willing to integrate. She added: “When fathers say that they do not talk with their children’s teachers, you have to ask them how they imagine their future in Germany.”
Secondly, Klöckner says immigrants must be loyal to Germany’s constitution. Conceding that religion is important, she stressed that it must not override Germany’s Grundgesetz (Basic Law). The Basic Law is the constitutional law of the Federal Republic adopted in 1949 which seeks to ensure there could never be a repeat of Hitler’s dictatorship.
In what is not doubt a particularly German analogy, Klöckner says the law is “not a vendor’s tray from which you can pick individual raisins”.
Thirdly, she says language courses must be received with a firm commitment from immigrants and not just seen as something offered out of the goodness of German hearts. This will not only help people integrate in labor markets, but also help spread enlightened ‘Western values’.
Finally, Klöckner delivers the sting in the tail. For those immigrants who refuse to accept the first three proposals, there will be consequences. If someone merely takes with one hand then state benefits will be denied to them.
Klöckner’s views on Germany’s migrant influx are doubtless different to those of the leader of her party, however, as more express doubts over Merkel’s recent welcome to Syrian migrants her views will gain currency.