The German government should consider “punishing” migrants who refuse to integrate into wider society, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has said.
Julia Klöckner, who is running for president of the Rhineland-Palatinate region next month, wrote in Rheinische Post that Mrs Merkel’s administration should reassert German values, and get tough on those who refuse to adopt them.
She said the integration of migrants should not be “left to chance” and called for the government to “accompany” them as they settle in German, but then said it should consider “penalising” those who do not integrate.
“Many [migrants] strive to come to Germany because they admire our country. But what they often underestimate is that our success is based on the principle of the rule of law.”
“We live in an ultra-modern, liberal and enlightened society,” she continued. “We fought for our liberties and are determined to defend them. Therefore, if anyone cannot cope with this they have chosen the wrong country.”
The CDU is proposing a series of reforms to the country’s migrant policy. New arrivals may be excluded from the minimum wage, spend longer in compulsory education or face stricter criteria for permanent residence according to the latest proposals.
It is not clear whether these will be implemented, however, after the Social Democratic Party – Mrs Merkel’s coalition partners – banded them “populist” and threatened to oppose them.
Last week, the country’s Federal Employment (BA) agency warned Germany could only absorb 350,000 new working age migrants a year, despite well over a million people coming to the country last year.
The figure, which amounts to around half of the 700,000 new jobs created annually, was revealed by BA board member Detlef Scheele, who also said the previous week that 350,000 migrants would go directly onto state benefits and that “we should not have too high expectations” of them finding gainful employment.