Multiculturalism has "failed" in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel said while addressing young members of the Christian Democratic Party at a conference Saturday.
Merkel said at the conference in Potsdam, Eastern Germany, that to think Germans and immigrant workers could "live happily side by side" is an illusion and the idea that a multicultural society can coexist has "failed. Utterly failed," the Associated Press reported.
She said that immigrants are welcome, but should learn the language and assimilate to German cultural norms, CNN reported.
These ideas have become more prominent throughout Europe as it faces an economic slump and concerns about domestic terrorism. Germany is suffering a labor shortage, lacking 400,000 workers according to the chamber of industry and commerce, The Guardian reported.
While some immigrant workers are able to fill the gap, Merkel said in her speech that unemployed Germans should be considered first "until we have done all we can to help our own people to become qualified and give them a chance," The Guardian reported.
Klaus Seehofer, the Bavarian state premier of the Christian Social Union, said "multiculturalism is dead." Seehofer said last week that Germany's immigration policies should be revised and that immigration from Turkey and Arab countries should end, The Guardian reported.
"Germany needs more qualified immigration to maintain its economic advantage and deal with the demographic developments," Volker Beck, a lawmaker with the Greens party said Sunday according to the AP.
Some have said Merkel's comment is not beneficial for the atmosphere in Germany, the AP reported.