Integration summit 2021 – the result

During the 13th integration summit on March 9th – a digital event with 120 representatives from state and non-profit organizations – a new “national action plan” was decided. This plan is meant to help and improve the integration and everyday life of migrants. During the summit, chancellor Angela Merkel pointed out that many migrants still deal with structural disadvantages: “We’re all Germany, that’s the aim.” Annette Widmann-Mauz, integration minister of the federal government, called attention to the challenges of the pandemic: “We have to make sure that we are not set back by the corona pandemic.” Because of this, the chancellor emphasized: “We know that especially people with a migration background work and are employed in jobs that are put under pressure first …”

The action plan features five steps which range from aid for migrant professionals to more participation in health, sports, and politics. Integration is supposed to be systematically promoted on all levels and areas of life, as well as strengthen the social solidarity: “… in order for integration to not only concern certain groups, but the entire society,” says Angela Merkel. She stressed that a functioning civil society is the best protection against exclusion and racism.

The five-step-plan states the following:

The first step covers measures that already apply before migration. Offers of information in the home countries are planned. This mostly aims towards the recruitment of skilled employees. The second step includes measures for the initial integration, such as language promotion, consultation on everyday matters, and recognition of educational achievements. In step three, the integration and participation in society, integration into the job market, and civic engagement are to be promoted increasingly. The fourth step deals with the basic requirement for the consolidation of our society. Here, a great importance is attached to the participation in health, culture, media and sports. The fifth step plans to stabilize the belongingness and social cohesion. The aim is to offer more projects for naturalization and political participation. Furthermore, equal opportunities are to be promoted in the economy and the public service. Additionally, the fight against discrimination and racism is included in the entire step-plan: “We still have a problem with racism in many places in Germany,” says Franziska Giffey, Federal Minister for Families, from the SPD after the integration summit.

Sharp criticism came from non-profit organizations. Cultural anthropologist Sabine Hess, director of the Centre for Global Migration Studies, thinks that the approach is already wrong. In her opinion, it is not about integration, but participation: “The integration summit makes migration in itself and migrants in their umpteenth generation the problem, they get … served the demand of integration.” According to Hess, Germany is now at the bottom of the pile worldwide when it comes to guarantee legal security and offer ways of political participation for social groups with a migration background.

Sources: www.bundesregierung.de, www.zeit.de, www.deutschlandfunk.de

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Beim 13. Integrationsgipfel am 9. März wurde ein „Nationaler Aktionsplan“ beschlossen.
Foto: Mostafa Elyasian.

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