Jawohl! Germans want to make English an official public sector language to attract more foreign workers
- German politicians want to make English an official language in the public sector
- The pro-business Free Democrats want to tempt foreign talent into the country
- Lack of German language skills is ‘a very big hurdle’ in attracting skilled workers
- Education minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger said: ‘We’re an immigration country’
Britons are not renowned for their foreign language skills – and German, with its notoriously complex grammar, is among the hardest to learn.
But many struggling foreigners in Germany may be spared the humiliation in future.
Members of the German government want to make English an official language in the public sector in a bid to tempt foreign talent to the country.
The pro-business Free Democrats say bureaucrats should be forced to become Anglophone.
Education minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger said a lack of German language skills was ‘a very big hurdle’ in encouraging skilled workers to move there.
‘The signal must be that we are an immigration country,’ she said.
Germany’s education minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (pictured) said a lack of German language skills was ‘a very big hurdle’ in encouraging skilled workers to move there
A Free Democrats policy paper drawn up by the party says: ‘Language is the key to successful integration. The promotion of German for skilled workers and their families must therefore be further expanded.
‘At the same time, English should be established alongside German as an additional administrative language in authorities in order to make administrative procedures easier.’
They reckon it will make it easier for expats to deal with red tape and attract the best talent from all over the world.
Officials from the party, also known as the FDP, want to make it easier for authorities to recognise qualifications from outside the EU.
The rethink comes after nearly 900,000 Ukrainian refugees have fled the war in their homeland for Germany.
But the policy marks something of a significant shift for the Free Democrats, who have not always been staunch fans of the language of Shakespeare.
The late Guido Westerwelle, a former foreign minister, once lambasted a BBC reporter for asking a question in English at a press conference in Berlin.
‘We are in Germany here. We speak German,’ the Free Democrat politician ranted.