German Politician Says ‘Nein, Danke’ to English-only Waitstaff

A board member of Germany’s conservative Christlich Demokratische Union, or CDU, party said in a Saturday interview he was tired of Berlin waiters who only spoke English and that the country should expect immigrants to learn the native tongue.

Jens Spahn, a Bundestag representative for the western towns of Borken and Steinfurt, said during an interview in the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung that he’d like to slow the pace of migration-led change in Germany and said not every cultural import enriches Germany, singling out headscarves as an example.

“And even in Germany, co-existence can only succeed if everyone speaks German. We should and are allowed to expect that of every immigrant,” he said in the interview. “By the way, it’s increasingly getting on my nerves that the waitstaff in some Berlin restaurants only speaks English. In Paris, nobody would come up with such a lame idea.”

The sentiment echoes a Tagesspiegel column earlier this year where the author expressed similar aggravation.

During the interview, Spahn also pushed for a reduction in Germany’s regulatory jungle to boost investment and said infrastructure projects are just as important as environmental projects. Still, he was upbeat about the state of Germany.

“Germany is the most popular country in the world for immigration after the U.S. How do we remain cohesive, what expectations should we have of immigrants? The first question an immigrant should ask themselves should be: ‘Where can I help?’ and not ‘Where can I apply for benefits?’.”

Twitter has since exploded with both positive and negative tweets filling Spahn’s professional website, where the content is automatically fed.

“And how many waiters and waitresses are actually annoyed by Jens Spahn?” tweeted Volker Wissing, head of the libertarian FDP in Rhineland-Palatinate.

“Sure, we can expect that every immigrant either speaks or is learning German but not every tourist,” tweeted Volker Beck, head of the left-leaning Green Party. Meanwhile Juliane Seifert, chief of staff at the Social Democrats, went for an English burn: “I’m feeling so sorry for him, Poor guy.”


Photo thanks Jens Spahn.

4 thoughts on “German Politician Says ‘Nein, Danke’ to English-only Waitstaff

  1. Wenn so wenig Leute von so vielen verschiedenen Regionen weltweit integrieren oder versuchen zu integrieren… Vielleicht liegt Schuld nicht an den 100000+++ Leute die kein Deutsch lernen konnten, sondern an dem System was überhaupt nicht hilft.
    Wenn tausende Leute nach Berlin umziehen, von Spanischen oder ähnlichen Regionen, ohne Deutsch oder Englisch zu sprechen, und nach einem Jahr fast fließend auf English sind aber kein Bier auf Deutsch bestellen können… Ist was schief gelaufen.
    Ich habe mal in Irland gewohnt, wo plötzlich ca. 2005 10-15% von der Bewölkerung Polnisch geworden ist, und diese Problemen existierten damals nicht. Vielleicht irgendwas von ihrem System lernen. Wo wenn man zum Bürgeramt geht, gibt’s alle Formulären in 20+ Sprachen.

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