Expectations and reactions to the Integration Summit

May 28

 

 

Kenan Kolat, head of the Berlin-based Turkish Community in Germany, expressed the demand to hire more migrants in civic services. Kolat defined Germany as an Immigration country that needs more migrants. Migrants are still understaffed in ministries, administrations or in the police. With reference to the NSU trials and the failures of the security services, Kolat proposed to discuss about racism in a future summit. Institutional and structural racism would be part of today´s reality  in Germany.

 

Youth Integration Summit 2012

April 17

 

The Youth Integration Summit 2012 has started this week in Berlin. Since 2010 young people from every part of Germany are invited to attend this annual initiative. Among the participants there are a great number of young migrants of different backgrounds. Participants are expected to discuss aspects such as “Education and Integration”, “Civic Engagement and Integration”, “Media and Integration” and “Inter-generational Conflicts” in different workshops. In her opening speech, Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed integration as a responsibility for the whole society.

 

However, there is a degree of criticism around the initiative. Representatives of the opposition Green party have criticized the Youth Integration Summit as an insubstantial event, which gathers engaged youths without concrete aims and leaves them with a little more than a family picture for the gallery.

Germany’s 5th Integration Summit

31.01. & 01./02.02.2012

Last Tuesday, Chancellor Merkel hosted the fifth German integration summit, bringing together politicians and representatives of different immigrant groups and organizations.

When Merkel initiated the first integration summit in 2006, she made the integration of Germany’s migrant population a top political priority. At this first summit, the participants agreed on developing a national integration plan, which was presented at the second summit in 2007 and meant to be the basis for integration work in subsequent years. The third and fourth summits were, then, opportunities to assess what had been achieved – with many critical voices as to the progress with respect to integration made so far.

Amongst other things, this year’s summit focused specifically on the issue of language skills, which had already been a priority of recent summits as well as in the national integration plan. In addition, the summit focused on structures of the German state that essentially prevent immigrants from working in the civil service or civil service organizations. In this context, a particular goal formulated at the summit was to raise the number of migrants in these official positions. Furthermore, the summit’s participants talked about the recently uncovered right-wing terrorism cell in Germany. They called for more tolerance and a new “culture of welcome” in Germany as a clear sign against racism and right-wing ideologies. The participants then agreed on an “national action plan” to bring forward the practical implementation of the National Integration Plan.

As in previous years, the summit was – once again – criticized by opposition parties and migrant organizations for its mere symbolic character. Kenan Kolat, for instance, chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany, argued that the euphoria surrounding the first integration summits is over and it has now turned into a mere show-event.

Turks Snub German Integration Summit

CAIRO – An integration summit called by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to bring ethnic minorities into mainstream society was overshadowed by a boycott of Turks, the country’s largest minority, in protest at the recently approved integration law that they say discriminates against Muslims, reported Deutsche Welle on Friday, July 13. “The Turkish community is not taken seriously,” said Kenan Kolat, chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany (TGD). Kolat said the Turks boycotted the one-day summit on Thursday, July 12, in protest at amendments to the immigration act approved by parliament earlier this week.

What Works Against Forced Marriages?

BERLIN – As part of the Integration Summit, Chancellor Merkel and the Ministry of the Interior invited experts to give testimony on forced marriages to the family committee in the Bundestag. Heiner Bielefeldt, director of the German Institute for Human Rights, was one of many who argued that forced marriage is not a typically Islamic practice.