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Schaeuble: Germany could not function without immigrants

Staff writer |
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble dismissed fears that too many immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria were moving to Germany, saying Germany had benefited from European Union integration more than any other.

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"We Germans don't have any reason at all to harbour hostile attitudes against others. Germany profits from European integration more than any other country. We're dependent on workers coming to us. Some sectors, such as nursing homes and home care, could not function any more without them," said Mr. Schaeuble.

Mr. Schaeuble also addressed the fears of some Germans in his Bild am Sonntag newspaper interview that Romanians and Bulgarians were moving in growing numbers to Germany to take advantage of its generous welfare safety net. "There are, incidentally, Germans who abuse the social welfare system or evade taxes."

The free movement of citizens is one of four fundamental freedoms of the EU law, alongside the free movement of goods, services and capital. Some Germans,Britons, Danes, Austrians, and Dutch are having second thoughts about eastward EU enlargement in 2007, which made poorer countries members of the bloc but with a seven-year delay for access to some job markets.

As the euro zone's biggest economy, with a low birth-rate and unemployment of just 6.9 percent, Germany is a magnet for migrants. With double-digit percentage rises in net inflows for three years, it received 67,000 Romanians and 29,000 Bulgarians in the first half of 2013.

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