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Germany lauds economic 'miracle' of reunification

The Local · 22 Sep 2010, 17:58

Published: 22 Sep 2010 17:58 GMT+02:00

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"Reunified Germany has accomplished great things," said de Maiziere, presenting a government report as it prepares to mark the 20th anniversary on October 3.

Reunification has been "a huge success story with a great deal of light, but of course also some darker sides," de Maiziere added.

"Today, 20 years after celebrating Germany unity, people in the west and the east can be proud of what they have achieved together since the peaceful revolution and reunification," he added.

The minister pointed to the fact that average unemployment in eastern Germany is currently at its lowest level since 1992, although still considerably higher than in the west.

And he said the fact that gross domestic product per capita in the east had reached 73 percent of that in the west "should be seen as a minor economic miracle."

Furthermore, transfers from west to east "remain valid and no one is calling them into question," insisted de Maiziere.

A survey published earlier Wednesday showed that 71 percent of Germans wanted to scrap the so-called "solidarity pact," covering transfers of funds from the west to the east, which is due to run until 2019.

Economists estimate that €1.4 trillion ($1.8 trillion) has flowed from west to east since reunification but de Maiziere declined to cite an exact figure.

He acknowledged that 2.7 million people had left the former East Germany in the past 20 years but pointed to the fact that 1.6 million people had gone the other way.

Story continues below…

The biggest challenges still facing Germany are to reduce unemployment and boost economic output in the east, de Maiziere said.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

22:41 September 22, 2010 by Clapoti
It was an economic miracle... so can we stop paying that solidarity tax now???
00:38 September 23, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Having just returned from Berlin, I have two observations: 1. The changes in former East Berlin thanks to the influx of Western capital are astonishing; and 2. They should have built the wall 10 meters higher. East Germany was a separate country for 40 years and should have remained so, with some kind of variation on the Marshall Plan to give it a chance to succeed on its own. Enough of this solidarity tax already.
14:02 September 23, 2010 by Wreck and Rule
Unfortunately, many the easterners still suffer from the bigotry of their own fellow citizens who hail from western Germany. As a Briton, I find the anti-easterner bigotry absolutely revolting and offensive.
15:31 September 23, 2010 by tallady
Prufroc..It may take a few more years but I think the 2 Germanys will work out their differences ....What do you think about the NBA draft?
15:48 September 23, 2010 by Gretl
Wow, only 40 years of separation (2 generations) and its all "us" vs. "them"! And here the 3rd Reich was trying to unify all German speakers. In 100 years, once the reunification tax is done and the people who paid for it are dead, it will be one big happy family again.
17:49 September 23, 2010 by Prufrock2010
tallady --

As I responded on another thread, I don't think about the NBA draft. I don't care about the NBA draft. Why? Are you hoping to be drafted?

What do you think about ending the draft in Germany?
22:55 September 23, 2010 by marimay
I like it when an East German says living in a communist country wasn't bad at all while pocketing solidarity tax money to go buy a Japanese car!
01:52 September 25, 2010 by Prufrock2010
"Economic miracles" can happen when you pour billions of euros into a bankrupt country, displace the pensioners, gentrify the neighborhoods, create massive unemployment and subsidize residential and commercial real estate developers with tax money extorted from hapless West German citizens. Now let's see the cultural and social miracles.
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