Neither country is new to immigration, but both now experience historic highs. High numbers of migrants in the population are now a fact of life, which calls for a longer-term approach for their integration. FES organized in partnership with IPPR the event to reflect on migration and integration policies of the two countries.
Germany now has a large refugee population to integrate, and Britain has a long history of settling high numbers of migrants over time. 2002 the SPD-Green government not only recognized Germany as a country of immigration for the first time, but introduced integration legislation to give migrants a path to citizenship. Yet today, hostility to immigration is high in both countries.
With inputs from Margaret Hodge MBE MP, renowned academics and journalists, the seminar explored what lessons can be learned on politics shaping integration with instruments such as citizenship policies or refugee distribution and which role progressives, inside and outside government, can play to influence the narrative and address public concerns on migration. The event highlighted the need for a pro-immigration emotional language which resonates with people as well as the relevance of civil society and policies at the local level in the context of immigration and integration in both countries.
The lively debate with an audience including media representatives, academics, politicians, policy advisers and civil servants reflected the interest in the topic and signalled more need for exchange on details of politics fostering integration.