Berlin and Saxony aren’t often talked about as success stories of German economic policy.
The German capital may have a booming startup scene, but chronic debt and high poverty have led to it being labelled “the failed city.”
Saxony meanwhile, is one of the states of former East Germany, which after over a quarter century of reunification still haven’t caught up economically with the rest of the country.
When Saxony does make headlines it is usually due to the far-right protest movement, Pegida, whose support comes from the economically marginalized and unemployed populations of the state’s smaller towns.
So statistics published by the state statistics office in North Rhine-Westphalia on Thursday made for surprising reading.
Berlin and Saxony both recorded GDP growth of 2.7 percent in 2016, by some way the strongest growth figures in the entire country.
But the good news story for these two eastern states was not replicated in the remainder of the former communist east.
Brandenburg and Thuringia recorded growth of 1.7 percent and 1.8 percent respectively, in line with the national average.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saxony-Anhalt meanwhile, had growth figures of 1.3 percent and 1.0 percent respectively. In both states the far-right Alternative for Germany won over 20 percent of the vote in state elections last year.
Despite moderate to strong growth throughout the country, one state bucked the trend. In Saarland, which held state elections last weekend, no GDP growth was recorded at all in 2016. The state nonetheless did not hold this against its government, re-electing the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU).