Germany’s attempt to create a multicultural society has been a total failure, Chancellor Angela Merkel told young members of her Christian Democrat party on Saturday.
Her comments follow a number of anti-immigrant remarks made by mainstream German politicians.
“This multicultural approach – saying that we simply live side by side and are happy about each other – this approach has utterly failed,” Merkel said in an address to a CDU youth conference.
The chancellor stressed that immigrants living in Germany needed to do more to integrate, including learning to speak German.
“However, we should not give the impression that those who don’t speak German immediately or who were not raised speaking German are not welcome here. That would do great damage to our country,” she said.
The immigration debate has intensified in Germany over the past few months.
Horst Seehofer, leader of the Christian Democratic Union, the Christian Democrats’ Bavarian sister party, recently declared multiculturalism dead.
Former German central banker Thilo Sarrazin was forced to resign over a book he wrote in which he accused Muslim immigrants of lowering the intelligence of German society.