25th Aug 2019

Multiculturalism is failing, says German opposition leader

The leader of the main opposition party in Germany, the Christian Democrats, has said that multiculturalism is failing.

Speaking at the party's annual conference on Monday (6 December) in Düsseldorf, Angela Merkel criticised her country's attempts to promote multiculturalism saying, "the idea of a multicultural society cannot succeed".

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  • Angela Merkel - patriotic (Photo: CDU)

"It is condemned to fail from the outset. Multiculturalism is not integration", she said.

The CDU leader added that the idea of a multicultural society "leads to [ethnic communities] living beside each other, rather than with each other".

Mrs Merkel's speech to the party faithful is part of an overall attempt to rebrand the conservative opposition which has been wracked recently by internal fighting - particularly over health reform proposals.

The main message was patriotism - something that is expected to be a big theme for the national elections in 2006.

Mrs Merkel also made reference to 'leitkultur' or 'leading culture'. The expression is in itself controversial - when it was first raised around four years ago it caused a huge storm of debate in the country.

Germany has the largest population of foreigners in the EU with about seven million immigrants - of whom the biggest proportion are Turkish.

The conference continues today with a discussion on the integration of immigrants.

A new immigration law will come into force on 1 January. It foresees compulsory language courses for new arrivals to the country.

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