Gauck: Integration is not just the governments job

Federal President discusses refugees with experts

Federal President Joachim Gauck has asked the people of Germany not just to assume that it is the states responsibility to ensure the integration of refugees in Germany.

Berlin -  At a symposium on integration in Berlin on Thursday Gauck said: "Integration is a process in which nearly everyone should, if possible everyone, should be involved. "What we need are impulses and initiatives from society to show their engagement."

 Only together could long-term residents, people from families with migrant backgrounds and new arrivals work to create a new society "in which everyone who lives in Germany are respected and feel represented". To achieve this those who have lived in German all their life or for a very long time will have to "take new arrivals by the hand and help them learn more about our country". It doesn't matter whether they are called advisors, mentors or other names, "it is always about people that bring drive, patience and possibly intercultural knowledge."

People from families with a migrant background will have an especially important role. They can build figurative bridges between new arrivals and current residents. All of those that will and want to remain in Germany for a considerably large amount of time will have to accompanied on their way into integrating into society. "We will also help those who will not remain in Germany in the long term.

The earlier people learn the German language and are able to work, the better it would be for everyone. "We otherwise risk that frustration and boredom will turn into violence and criminality or political and religious extremism."

 Gauck also called for mutual tolerance and attention. "Everytime we experience that equality, the respect for others opinions and beliefs is disrespected or ignored we should not hesitate to take sides". An open society has "nothing to do with indifference". However, freedom of speech and debating opinions ends when violence is involved. "And it is also clear: The laws are valid for everyone that lives here and apply equally regardless of where they originally come from and how long they will stay here." For cultural pecularities that reject or contradict the law there "cannot be any kind of mitigating circumstances". 

The symposium "Refugees in Germany: Making integration possible - strengthening cooperation" will take place in cooperation with the Robert Bosch foundation. One of the ideas of the institution is to establish easier access for refugees to the job market.


  • Gauck
  • refugees
  • integration
  • Germany