Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Enter the Modern Gastarbeiter

Wikipedia defines Gastarbeiter as “A German word that literally means "Guest Worker", this term refers to people who have moved to Germany for jobs. It has a somewhat pejorative undertone.”


A little history.

Postwar Europe is booming. The north of Europe finds it has so much work for unskilled labor, they can’t fill the posts. So they looked to Europe’s far south for help. And help came: Spaniards, Portuguese, Greeks, and Italians. But the greatest number by far came from Turkey. In the 50s, 60s and 70s, more than 2 million Turks came on temporary work contracts to countries such as Germany and the Netherlands.

The idea was they were supposed to home.

But they stayed, married or brought over their wives and started families.
And this is one of the major contributing factors to what we in Europe now call the multicultural society.
But we also see the gastarbeiter phenomenon as a thing of the past.
When, of course, it is not…

The numbers haven’t come out yet, but it seems clear that since the European Union expanded from 15 to 25 nations in 2004, thousands of Eastern Europeans have come to the west seeking work.

That’s why today’s EuroQuest is called Modern Gastarbeiter.

Segment 1 - Eastern Europeans Save N. Irish Fishing
The coming of Eastern European labor seems to have saved County Downs fishing industry. Laura Haydon reports.

Segment 2 - NI’s Polish Welfare Association
Poles are Catholic and this has put them on the receiving end of sectarian violence. That’s why 33-year old Robert Kordula runs the Polish Welfare Association from his living room as Radio Polonia reports.

Segment 3 - France Tightens Immigration Laws
The Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy says France will welcome immigrants with new talent and new skills. But there is a downside: unskilled illegal immigrants currently in France may find themselves expelled. Alasdair Sandford has more.

Segment 4 - Berlin’s German Only School
DW Radios Ben Fajzullin on Germanys controversial test just for Muslims who are applying for German citizenship. And the Berlin high school that has made German mandatory in the schoolyard.

Click here to download this week's program in high quality mp3

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