A number of EU countries are grabbing the spotlight lately for what is perceived as being an increase in intolerance towards foreign immigrants within their borders. Some of the stranger implementations seen lately are as follows:
In the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, immigrants applying for citizenship are being given a "conscience test" which includes such questions as "What do you think about the September 11 attacks?" Many perceive such questions as being important signals of the recent rise in hostility towards both Islam and foreigners in the country. Other questions included in the Baden-Wurttemberg test are "What would your reaction be if your daughter wanted to marry a non-Muslim?" and "Do you find honor killings justifiable?"
Dutch only on the sidewalks
In the Netherlands, Immigrations and Assimilation Minister Rita Verdonk has defended the view that no language other than Dutch should be spoken on the street, and that certain precautions ought to be taken to ensure this. Verdonk has also put forward the view that many Dutch citizens are uncomfortable with hearing all the foreign languages being spoken on their streets.
"Sweep the garden" punishment
In Germany, Prime Minister Angela Merkel's party is debating a proposal which would have a "sweeping punishment" meted out to students who didn't speak German during school. The proposal, which was put forward by CDU education expert Robert Heinemann, was explained as being "let those who don't speak German in school sweep the school garden." The punishment has already begun to be implemented in Berlin's Herbert-Hoover school.
No more foreign brides
In Belgium's Flemish speaking region, MP Sonia Clais has made a parliamentary proposal that bringing in young women as brides from Turkey to the country should be banned through visa procedures.