The new federal cabinet in a group photograph with President Steinmeier on 8 December when they received their certificates of appointment/Photo: Bundesregierung

Germany: Scholz promises easier naturalisation, more participation for people with migrant roots

In his first government declaration, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, following up on his election campaign promises, announced plans to make naturalisation easier and create more opportunities for more participation in society for people with a migration background. Germany is a country of immigration, now it must now become an even better country of integration, he added.

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Chancellor Olaf Scholz has promised a “policy of respect” while declaring war on extremists in Germany. In his first government statement in the Bundestag (federal parliament) on Wednesday, referring to the group of extreme opponents of the Corona protection measures, he said: “We will not put up with a tiny minority of disinhibited extremists trying to impose their will on our entire society.”

He described right-wing extremism as the greatest threat to democracy. The existing concepts for strengthening civil society consultation would now be used to launch a Democracy Promotion Act (Demokratieförderungsgesetz). The law failed in the last legislative period due to opposition from the CDU/CSU. It is supposed to provide reliable funding for civil society engagement against extremism.

At the same time, Scholz affirmed that the path to German citizenship would be made easier. Naturalisation should be possible after five years of residence in Germany and multiple citizenship will also be made possible. “It corresponds to the reality of life for many immigrants in our country that they can retain their identity of origin in legal terms even after immigration.”

Until now, people usually must have lived in Germany for eight years before qualifying for naturalisation.

Scholz promised more participation for people with foreign roots. “We are talking about almost a quarter of our population,” he said. “They are entitled to full participation in society”. Scholz stressed that Germany is a country of immigration, “but we must become an even a better country of integration”.

Scholz, who ran his election campaign with the slogan “Respect for you”, repeatedly called for social respect. He warned against looking down, adding that the Corona pandemic had taught that “there are no superior and inferior jobs in our country”. Cashiers or nurses, cleaners, parcel carriers or train conductors all make an indispensable contribution to the community.

At the same time, Scholz called on the people in the country to make significant changes. The tasks in the fight against man-made global warming are “enormous”. With the phase-out of coal, oil and gas in the next 23 years, Germany was facing the biggest transformation of its industry and economy in at least a hundred years, he noted.

Sola Jolaoso

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