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Germans disappointed by reunification

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Germans disappointed by reunification
Photo: DPA
09:53 CET+01:00
Entering the twentieth anniversary year of the fall of the Berlin Wall, most Germans expressed disappointment over what the country has achieved since reunification in a new poll.

Not even half of the 1,000 people surveyed by Forsa for the Friday edition of daily Berliner Zeitung said their personal situation had improved with the merging of East and West Germany.

“The euphoria that dominated after the fall of the Wall is more or less gone,” said Forsa chief Manfred Güllner.

A majority in both east and west said they had been disappointed by the developments of the past two decades. While back in 1989 some 71 percent of Germans in the communist east believed their lot in life would get better, but now only 46 percent consider that to be the case. In the west, a slim majority of 52 percent believed things would improve, but now only 40 percent think they did.

A quarter of all eastern Germans actually think life is worse now than it was under communism in 1989. Only 39 percent believe they have personally profited from German reunification. However, at least 54 percent agreed that the overall situation in eastern Germany had improved since 1990 – whereas only 43 percent thought so when asked in 1995.

Güllner said sadly preconceptions on both sides of the former border had hardened over the years. Whereas the eastern Germans think they were exploited and given a raw deal, “the westerns have the feeling that they've only had to pay for the east.”

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