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East Germany's Communist ideology chief was quoted Wednesday as calling for a more democratic society, but the official party newspaper said the country can solve its problems only by strengthening socialism.

The developments were the latest in a series of mixed signals the hard-line government has been sending the rest of the world as it grapples with a growing movement for social change.Kurt Hager, one of the most influential figures in the Communist Party hierarchy, called for greater participation of the people in solving the country's problems, more openness in society and reform of the state-controlled press.

Hager, a member of the policy-making party Politburo, made the comments in an interview with the Soviet weekly Moscow News on Friday, as street protests erupted in several cities during the visit of Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev.

State-run Radio DDR read the comments in a broadcast Wednesday.

"Our task in the immediate future is to come up with a clear concept for the development of necessary changes," Hager said. "That will require, above all, the active involvement of the population in solving important problems and a new policy of public information."

Referring to the exodus of mostly young people from the country, Hager said that "all of the obstacles have to be cleared away that have apparently prevented our youth from developing their full potential."

Hager also called for the government to react to the "needs and mood" of the people.

The party daily Neues Deutschland Wednesday conceded the country has problems but at the same time said socialism must be strengthened to solve them.

The newspaper also renewed its accusations against West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, accusing him of "unveiled interference in East Germany's internal affairs." Kohl has been extremely critical of the East German government in recent days.

"We can solve our own problems, not through Kohl's recipes but through socialist means . . . through the further strengthening of socialism. Every demand and recommendation that in reality aims at weakening or even doing away with socialism cannot bear fruit among us," the newspaper wrote.