Voting for the integration committee / Wahl des Integrationsbeirates

On Saturday I received an invitation to vote for the Integrationsbeirat (integration committee) on December 7. I was mystified but then I saw the notices in 14 languages on the reverse (German, English, French, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Romanian, Spanish, Turkish and four other Slavic languages which I assume are Czech, Polish, what we used to call Serbo-Croat and Slovenian (? Slede´ci izbori za Integracioni savet su u nedelju?)

So this was the Ausländerbeirat (Foreigners’ Committee)! Now I understand.

They said I could get information if I phoned up the town hall. I phoned up and they said they have stuff but I have to collect it myself.

I am wondering whether we have to be integrated now it’s called the integration committee, or if only the committee itself is integrated? I believe the benches in the pedestrian zone are gradually being removed because people aren’t integrated. They sit out very late with small children on summer evenings and make a noise.

There are other terms that puzzle me. It’s called Beirat für Integration und Migration. What is a migrant? Am I one? There was a firm of lawyers here in Fürth, one of whom was involved in a centre for migration studies at Bamberg University. However, that firm has now migrated to Nuremberg (I think they found the Kirchweih too loud). Another problem is the term ausländische Mitbürger (foreign fellow-citizens). Am I a foreign fellow-citizen, and if so, am I the fellow-citizen of a German or also the fellow-citizen of a Russian or Turk? And if I am not a citizen, how can I be a fellow-citizen? It must mean a citizen’s fellow rather than a co-citizen.

The town hall woman told me that in the Stadtzeitung, an official publication that is sent out occasionally, there is all the information about the Integrationsbeirat. That is all well and good, but since it didn’t occur to me that the Integrationsbeirat has anything to do with me, I didn’t read that bit.

One thing I will say for Nuremberg – it still has an Ausländerbeirat, although I’m not sure what the graphic is saying. You can even see photos of most of the members.

4 thoughts on “Voting for the integration committee / Wahl des Integrationsbeirates

  1. Curious. Can anyone vote, or only foreigners? Can anyone stand, or do you have to be nominated by town hall? If you’re Turkish, do you only get to vote Turkish members of the committee, or can you also vote for a Greek?

  2. I’m ashamed to say I don’t know much about it, but I will be finding out. The regulations are online. Actually, a search for the old name Ausländerbeirat looks productive. As far as I know only foreigners can vote, of course they can vote for other nationalities (I doubt any British people are standing), and the committee just advises. The rules say each member gets a maximum of 153.39 euros per year as ‘compensation’, although the chairman gets an extra 20.45 (the latter is DM 40.00, so they are all sums that have been converted to euros and not adjusted). The committee is said to have three main tasks: education, schools (sounds like the same to me) and language, but I think they advise on any concerns of foreigners.
    The rules say (I just skimmed them) 3 categories of people can vote: ausländische Mitbürger/innen (that’s me, with a foreign passport but living here), Spätaussiedler/innen (that’s people of German origin from places like Transylvania and Siberia – I see there is a rule that these people can’t have more than 4 of the 15 seats), and former ausländische Mitbürger/innen who have taken German nationality. To be elected you have to have been here for 6 months and if you are in the third category, you can’t have taken German nationality more than 8 years earlier.

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