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  • Jens Spahn

    Jens Spahn | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 August 2017

Spahn especially criticized residents of Berlin for excessively speaking English instead of German.

Germany politician Jens Spahn has criticized the increased use of English, highlighting that such “lunacy” would never happen in other countries like France.

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"You would never find this kind of lunacy in Paris," he also added, referring to the strong preservation of and pride by the French in their unique language.

He especially criticized residents of Berlin for excessively speaking English instead of German. "It drives me up the wall the way waiters in Berlin only speak English," he told the German newspaper Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

"Co-existence can only work in Germany if we all speak German," Spahn, who is currently serving as junior finance minister, told The Telegraph. "We can and should expect this from every immigrant."

Spahn is touted as a potential successor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

English, which is considered an important skill, is taught at an early age. Many restaurants and bars across the country, especially in popular Berlin districts, recruit employees from all over Europe.

In 2015, Merkel's administration mandated that immigrants must learn German in order to receive permanent residency and benefits. However, these regulations are not applicable to asylum-seekers under the European Union's freedom of movement rules.

Spahn cited increased immigration and globalization as direct threats to German language and culture.

"This is the need to have a home, to feel at home," Spahn said. "People want to be able to know what they can expect in everyday life and that things aren't changing all the time. Not every cultural difference is an enrichment. I have to accept the growing number of head scarves on our streets, but I do not feel enriched by it."

According to The Daily Express, German Parliament members Gunther Krichbaum, Axel Schäfer and Johannes Singhammer, wrote a letter to Chancellor Merkel urging that "in addition to the equal use of the German language as a working language in the bodies of the European Union and increased use in all international institutions, the German language especially needs to be thoroughly used in our own country."

"Everything must be done to ensure that German does not become a sort of ‘residual language'," they added.

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