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German Minister Frustrated Over Lack Of German Speakers At Berlin Restaurants

REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent

A junior minister in the German Finance Ministry has expressed frustration over an increasing trend where restaurant workers in Berlin don’t speak German.

Jens Spahn — who some believe is a potential successor for Chancellor Angela Merkel as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union — said in a recent interview that many waiters across the German capital only speak English with German customers.

“It is increasingly getting on my nerves that in some Berlin restaurants the waiters only speak English,” Spahn told Osnabrucker Zeitung Friday. “No one in Paris would have such a crazy idea.”

Spahn believes the integration process for immigrants would be much smoother if everyone in the country spoke the national language.

“Co-existence can only work in Germany if we all speak German,” Spahn said. “This is something we should expect from every immigrant.”

Berlin’s tourist board responded to Spahn’s criticism Monday, saying the capital has embraced its status as a city that “is becoming ever more international.”

“We are simply a city which is becoming ever more international,” Christian Tänzler, a spokesman for Visit Berlin, told The Local Monday. “187 nations live in Berlin – that comes with an increased number of foreign languages.”

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