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Federation of Greek Communities in Germany Meets with German Ministers Regarding Language

The acceleration of specific measures for education in schools and the vocational rehabilitation for immigrant children, such as the cultivation of their native language are the main points of the resolution of the Permanent Assembly of the Ministers of Education of Federal German States.  The Assembly took place on the 14th and 15th of October in Berlin.
The resolution was preceded by a joint meeting of German Ministers with representatives of major immigrant federations in Germany.  The Federation of Greek Communities in Germany (OEK) participated in the meeting.
An announcement was made by OEK Germany.  For the first time in the history of education of Greek children abroad, but also with regards to the education and vocational rehabilitation of immigrants more broadly.  The collective Greek body along with seven major immigrant federations in Germany, are reliable partners in the discussions with the body that forms educational policies in Germany.
By a decision of the Permanent Assembly, all immigrant federations are required to convene in the future on an annual basis with the 16 Ministers of Education of the Federal States.  They will jointly examine the progress made in the implementation of the joint declaration titled: “Integration as a Joint Opportunity in the Struggle for Equal Opportunities”, from the 13th of December 2007.

The delegation of OEK is headed by Costas Demetriou.  The organization expressed their gratitude for the honor and recognition of the collective body of Greeks in Germany. In this context, OEK confirmed that it will constructively collaborate and contribute with all its forces towards the achievement of the common goal for the education and vocational rehabilitation of young people from immigrant families.  This will act towards their own interest and for the interest of German society and state.

In their report, the Ministers of Education and Immigrant Federations agreed that progress has been made, but at a satisfactory pace.  It was decided to accelerate specific measures for education in school and the vocational rehabilitation of immigrants’ children and the promotion of their native language.  Differentiations were also pointed out in the realization of goals from one federal state to another.

• Strong criticism in the public debate on issues of integration and entry of new immigrants in Germany
OEK and other immigrant federations in Germany strongly criticized the fact that public discussion on issues of integration and entry of new immigrants in Germany is being developed in an unacceptable manner mainly by politicians of the government coalition in Berlin.
The Immigrant Federation in a joint statement characterized the demand from members of the government coalition in Berlin; for foreign students to speak only in German during their school breaks.

After a long and thorough discussion, the Ministers of Education distanced themselves from this view.
The issue was also dominant during the press conference that followed with great interest. The differentiation of the Ministers of Education and the decisions made at the conference were featured at the front pages of German newspapers.

It is noted that OEK has become a permanent partner in the discussions held with bodies of the German state. Besides the Permanent Assembly of the Ministers of Education, on October 5th it was invited and took part in the: “6th Dialogue for Integration Policy”, organized on a regular basis by the German Commissioner for Immigration Maria Boehmer.
On the 3rd of November, Chancellor Angela Merkel has invited OEK as one of the most important immigrant federations, to take part in the established “Summit for Integration”.  Mrs. Merkel and her associates will have in depth discussions on issues of social, financial and political integration of immigrants before the cabinet makes any relevant decisions.

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