V: While talking about diversity, what are in your view the main obstacles to creating a multicultural society?
The presence of different cultures and languages is certainly an important source of enrichment for Austria these. (sic) Yet, we have had too often emotionally-charged socio-political discussions in the past – this was the main obstacle:
having negative propaganda on the one hand and naive illusions on the other hand. It is my conviction that facts and extensive expertise must speak for itself, away from ideology and deadlocked dogmas. The point is to recognize conflicts and offer concrete solutions. This approach is also the basis for the National Action Plan for Integration – we are addressing both sides of the migration society
here: the receiving society to open the doors and the migrants to participate and contribute
. I am convinced this broad approach will allow us to make progress in the field of integration while also benefitting the Austrian population as a whole.
A welcoming culture helps immigrants receiving information on certain topics right in the beginning and from one source only and this assists the sense of feeling warmly accepted.
They would also know whom to refer back to in case of questions. Creating a welcoming structure means the best possible integration from the very beginning on – with a consistent arch of integration from the country of origin through to the conferral of citizenship.
This also guarantees (!!!) long-term chances of participation and social cohesion.
And now, with Integration being put under one umbrella with the agendas of Europe and Foreign Affairs, it is possible to reach immigrants at an even earlier point more easily.