Germany is a popular destination for migrants, but
immigration is becoming increasingly controversial.
A law designed to tighten up asylum rules and
encourage integration was passed recently. It provides for German lessons
for immigrants already in Germany and aims to give preference to
professional workers in future.
Interior Minister Otto Schily declared: "With
this law, Germany shows itself to be an open country."
That doesn’t please everyone. Edmund Stoiber, the
challenger to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, said that the law had been
"forced through" and that the "important issue of immigration will have to
play a role" in Germany's elections, due in September.
Mr Stoiber has opposed the entry of Turkey into
EU, claiming that Berlin is already the "largest Turkish city" after
Ankara and Istanbul.
However former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt said
recently that too many foreigners had been admitted as a result of
Germany in uproar over foreign workers