One in five 'Wessis' have never been east

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3 Oct, 2012 Updated Wed 3 Oct 2012 09:38 CEST
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Twenty-two years after Germany was reunified, more than one in five from the former west have never visited the former communist east, a poll revealed on the eve of Wednesday's unification day celebrations.

The survey, by mass circulation daily Bild, suggested that 21 percent of Wessis, as inhabitants of the former West Germany are known, have never crossed the former border to visit their eastern cousins.

In contrast, just nine percent of Ossis or easterners, have never gone west, according to the poll.

And more than two decades after country was reunited, three-quarters of Germans still see differences in mentality between the two former halves of what is now Europe's top economy and powerhouse.

Only one in five think that job opportunities are as bountiful in the east as they are in the west, a poll commissioned by state broadcaster ZDF showed on Sunday. Whether Ossi or <Wessi, the majority of Germans were in agreement the idea that living and working in the west was better.

Regardless of the negativity towards the east's economic situation, two-thirds of people said they were "indifferent" to the fact that the country's two top leaders – Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck – are both Ossis.

Merkel was born in Hamburg in the former West Germany but grew up and cut her political teeth in the east.

Opinion was divided on the reparation taxes that western states pay to the east, with 64 percent of those asked in the east saying they thought the payments were fair. Nearly the same amount of westerners said that they were paying the east too much money.

Eastern states will continue receiving support payments until 2019, after which they will have to function without western help. This will be 30 years after reunification.

DAPD/AFP/The Local/jcw



2012/10/03 09:38

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