The simmering debate in Europe about multiculturalism versus assimilation has now come to a boil. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, famously stated in October 2010 that “multiculturalism in Germany (Multikulti) had failed, completely failed”. In February 2011, both Prime Minister David Cameron and President Nicholas Sarkozy could also be heard declaring that multiculturalism was a failure, although only the French President endorsed assimilation as the alternative. Others argue that both assimilation and multiculturalism have failed.
These dramatic statements represent the challenge of interpretation and policy analysis to which this book is addressed. If these single words can identify a failure of society and of the policies of government, then there has to be a better model, concept and policy. This study tries to work towards a better solution, and uses the term ‘interculturalism’ to represent that solution.
The editor, Michael Emerson, is Senior Research Fellow at CEPS and head of the EU Foreign, Security and Neighbourhood Policy research programme.