Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has declared the death of multiculturalism in my former home country, saying that it has failed utterly in what has been interpreted as a startling shift from her previous views. The German leader said it had been an illusion to think that Germans and foreign workers could "live happily side by side". "We kidded ourselves for a while that they wouldn't stay, but that's not the reality," she said at a conference of the youth wing of her Christian Democratic Union party at the weekend, referring to the "guest workers" who arrived in Germany to fill a labor shortage during the economic boom of the 1960s. "Of course the tendency had been to say, 'let's adopt the multicultural concept and live happily side by side, and be happy to be living with each other'. But this concept has failed, and failed utterly," she said, without elaborating on the nature and causes of this failure. Merkel's verdict marks a shift in her previously liberal line on immigration which had always put her at odds with the more conservative wing of her party. While she stressed in the same speech that immigrants were welcome in Germany and that Islam was a part of the nation's modern-day culture, her remarks positioned her closer to Horst Seehofer, the Bavarian state premier of the Christian Social Union, who last week called for an end to immigration from Turkey and Arab countries.