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Friday, June 21, 2002

Germany Joins the Club

So in the run up to the weekend's European summit, Germany adopts a new immigration law.

Germany adopted a disputed immigration law Thursday that tightens rules for asylum seekers but aims to attract high-tech foreign workers, putting the issue squarely into September's election campaign.The law grew out of a long-running debate on how to balance anxiety about the growing number of immigrants with Germany's need for skilled foreign workers as the native-born population ages.

Opposition conservatives announced they will challenge the law, saying it flies in the face of efforts by European Union leaders to clamp down on illegal immigration out of concern about anti-immigrant sentiment. The conservatives claim the new law could flood Germany with foreigners.

The bill, which scraped through the upper house of parliament in March, puts more pressure on newcomers to integrate but sets no quotas on the number of immigrants that can be brought in................Schroeder's center-left government drew up the law after an expert commission said last year that Germany needs tens of thousands of new migrants each year to supplement its aging, shrinking population.The government had said its bill would allow Germany to admit workers needed by industry in areas such as the high-tech sector while also tightening asylum laws and requiring foreigners to assimilate.

European Union leaders expect to finalize some 50 proposals to lower the number of illegal immigrants to the 15-nation bloc at a weekend meeting in Seville, Spain — out of alarm at strong electoral scores for France's Jean-Marie Le Pen and other far-right politicians.

Germany's 7.3 million legal foreign residents currently account for about 9 percent of the population.
Source: Yahoo News LINK

If you believe your eyes, even the most cautious proposals are greeted by what by all accounts will be the next German government with cries of social alarm and fears of immigrant flooding! Everyone still convinced Europe will be capable of reform?

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