German Press Review: Berlin′s Miracle | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 18.06.2004
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German Press Review: Berlin's Miracle

The agreement on an immigration law was the topic of interest to Germany's editorial writers on Friday.

Germany's editorial pages gave thumbs up to the immigration agreement. The Neues Deutschland from Berlin called it a "miracle." The paper celebrated the fact that "Germany has now got the official stamp as a 'land of immigration.'" It listed the advantages of the law: "Those who are to Germany's advantage can stay; those who take advantage of Germany, cannot... the social system will be protected and not burdened...Immigrants won't get special benefits but things also won't be as strict for them." The "real miracle," according to the daily, "is that given all the diversity of political opinion, the parties were able to reach a compromise."

The TZ from Munich also said "it's not a bad sign that our politicians could compromise across party lines." It went on to ask: "How would things have looked, if they never reached agreement?" The paper imagined the answer: "Skilled workers would avoid Germany, 'preachers of hate' would find the country a comfortable home, and applicants for asylum would not have laws regulating them."

The Financial Times Deutschland from Hamburg agreed with the conservative Christian Democrats, who say that "Germany is not a classic land of immigration." But the paper stressed that "Germany is indeed a land of immigration -- just not a classic one, like for example Canada, where immigration is taken as basically positive." With the new law, the paper said, politicians are realizing that people just don't come to Germany as guests, but

to be part of the country. But it comes now after 50 years of being a non-classic land of immigration," and the paper lamented that "it leaves behind hundreds of thousands in a precarious situation of being 'tolerated', although they have lived here for years and are already well-integrated."

Die Welt from Berlin also analyzed the law as an historic development because for decades, "Germany didn't trust immigrants enough, because the country didn't trust its own identity. The law is the beginning of the break-up" of that distrust, the paper observed, and "the law was worth the effort."

Bild from Hamburg applauded that "finally, something is moving in Germany. After the pact on vocational training, the immigration compromise is the second good political news in a week." The paper called it "a victory for those who have a sense of responsibility, above the nay-sayers and the permanent blockers." And Express from Cologne called on the politicians to keep on compromising. "Give us more," the paper exclaimed, "we still have need more reforms."