Merkel Hails Integration Milestone, Hits Back at Critics

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday called Germany’s new integration plan for immigrants “a milestone” and rejected criticism from ethnic Turkish groups who boycotted a key summit on the issue. Merkel was speaking at a press conference following a meeting with ethnic leaders in Berlin to announce government assistance to minorities which are widely seen as becoming increasingly detached from the mainstream German society. The 90 community leaders at the summit adopted a “national integration plan” containing 400 promises for improvements — ranging from aid for ethnic sports clubs to making more German-language classes available — which Merkel said was the first in Germany’s post-Second World War history. The summit, however, was held under a cloud after four major Turkish groups boycotted the event in protest at legislation passed last week which raises the hurdles for newly wed Turkish citizens moving to Germany to live with their spouses.

Immigration Law ‘Hits Turks Below the Belt’

Four groups representing Germany’s Turkish population have refused to take part in Angela Merkel’s integration summit being held Thursday. German commentators are divided over whether the groups have a point or whether they are just proving that Turks in Germany don’t want to integrate. Four major organizations representing the Turkish community in Germany have boycotted Merkel’s integration summit. The boycott by four major organizations representing the Turkish community in Germany of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s much-vaunted integration summit (more…) threatened to overshadow the event as it took shape on Thursday.

Merkel to Meet German Islamic Leaders

BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to have talks later this year with leaders of the country’s 3.3 million Muslims, a report said Wednesday. Merkel is due to invite the heads of 16 Islamic groups to the chancellery before parliament’s summer recess to boost dialogue after worldwide protests over cartoons depicting the Muslim Prophet Mohammed, said the newspaper Die Welt. The move comes amid unprecedented calls by German teachers for the closure of a Berlin high school following massive disruptions by Arab and Turkish students.