Multikulti, the concept that ''we are now living side by side and are happy about it'', does not work, Dr Merkel told a meeting of younger members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party at Potsdam near Berlin at the weekend. ''This approach has failed, totally,'' she said.
Dr Merkel spoke a week after talks with the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which they pledged to do more to improve the poor integration record of Germany's 2.5-million-strong Turkish community.
Address ... Angela Merkel talks to the CDU’s youth group.Horst Seehofer, the leader of the CDU's Bavarian sister party, CSU, told the same party meeting that the two parties were ''committed to a dominant German culture and opposed to a multicultural one''.
''Multikulti is dead,'' he said.
While warning against ''immigration that weighs down on our social system'', Dr Merkel said Germany needed specialists from overseas to keep the pace of its economic development.
The head of the chamber of commerce and industry, Hans Heinrich Driftmann, said Germany was in urgent need of about 400,000 engineers and qualified workers.
''The lack is causing a loss of growth of about 1 per cent,'' he said in an interview.
Jewish leaders, meanwhile, warned that German society and democracy were under threat from extremists. A recent study should prompt the government to act against anti-democratic ideas, the secretary-general of the Central Council of Jews, Stephan Kramer, told the Rheinpfalz am Sonntag weekly.
The study, by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, showed that more than a third (34.3 per cent) of the 2411 people surveyed believed the country's 16 million immigrants or people with foreign origins came for the social benefits.
About the same number (35.6 per cent) think Germany is being ''overrun by foreigners'' and more than one in 10 called for a ''fuehrer'' to run the country ''with a strong hand''.