Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Germany, Multiculturalism and the Liberals

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 8th July, 2009

Georg BoomgaardenThe German Liberals (FDP) are highly likely to form part of the next German government, according to the German Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s. Speaking at an Association of European Journalists (AEJ) lunch at the London offices of the European Parliament, H.E. Georg Boomgaarden said that although it is always possible that the ‘grand coalition’ of Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and Social Democrats (SDP) might continue after September’s federal elections, a more likely scenario would be a CDU/CSU-FDP coalition government, or even the so-called Jamaica coalition that has been mooted: i.e. CDU/CSU, FDP and the Greens (whose party colours are black, yellow and green, like the Jamaican flag). The Liberals traditionally were the junior party in German coalitions but have been in opposition in recent years. But they did extremely well in last month’s European elections. Being a diplomat, however, Dr Boomgaarden cautioned that opinion polls are often volatile in the run-up to a Germa election, so anything is technically possible.

On another matter, in the light of the appalling recent murder of a pregnant Egyptian woman by a racist German attacker in a courtroom in Dresden — an assault in which her husband was also wounded — I asked which model of multiculturalism Germany had adopted, if any. The Ambassador replied that Germany had lied to itself about what used to be referred to as Turkish guest workers (gastarbeiter), assuming that once they had finished their working lives they would return home, whereas many of them did not. The main problem for integration, he said, is related to the fact that most of the Turkish immigrants came from eastern Anatolia — many of them Kurds — and they have a more traditional and Asian lifestyle. This is exacerbated by the fact that Turks immigrants even of the second and third generation tend to marry girls from their home country, who then find themselves in an alien environment in Germany. However, an Islamic Conference has been functioning in Germany for some time and recently it brought out a paper stressing that Muslims should stand by the German constitution, while at the same time freedom of religion must be repected.



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