German Press Review: Roll Out the Red Carpet for Immigrants | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 10.03.2004
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German Press Review: Roll Out the Red Carpet for Immigrants

German editorialists on Wednesday focused on immigration, the troubles faced by carmaker Volkswagen and why the German state no longer has to pay a German pensioner's rent in Miami.

Germany’s politicians continue to debate a new immigration law and leading party representatives are due to meet again this week to discuss the controversial issue again. The Nordsee-Zeitung wrote, "The mere fact that many of Germany’s best brains are leaving the country to realize their professional ambitions elsewhere, preferably in the United States, speaks for generous immigration regulations. We cannot afford to turn away foreign achievers. On the contrary, we ought to roll out the red carpet for them, for they have the brains to preserve our wealth."

The Wetzlarer Neue Zeitung criticized Germany’s biggest opposition party, the CDU, for their selective approach to reforms. The CDU says workers must be more flexible for jobs to be created, while it bides its time over immigration reforms. We can be sure of one thing, the paper wrote, after this week’s debate we’ll be back to square one.

Europe’s biggest carmaker, Volkswagen, unveiled plans on Tuesday to cut around 5,000 jobs over the next two years as part of increased efforts to cut costs in face of the persistently difficult economic situation and a poor start to the current year.

The Nordbayerische Kurier commented that VW was one of those companies that claimed to be part of the advance guard for a new economic boom. So far, nothing has come of that, for the car business is more difficult than ever. But the paper wrote improvement may come next year, when VW brings a car on the market for less than €10,000 ($12,300), a sign that Volkswagen -- which translates as the “people’s car” -- is not forgetting the people.

The Hamburger Abendblatt agreed, saying that instead of investing a lot of money in incalculable luxury adventures like Bentley, Bugatti and the new Phaeton, VW should revert to its core business: cars for the people, for the average earner, the family. Customers, dealers and the workforce, the paper said, would be grateful to the concern management for it.

Under new welfare reforms, 64-year-old "Florida Rolf," a German retiree whose story generated headlines last year, no longer qualifies for German social benefits that had so far paid his rent in the United States.

The Berliner Zeitung commented: "Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has defeated Rolf-Manfred John. He has managed to save the state -- us all -- $875 dollars a month." However, the daily went on, if Schröder had succeeded in the six years he has been in power in creating one single job, he would not have had to get involved in the wave of social envy and outdo poor old Florida Rolf.

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