Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Unification not Complete

"German unification is not complete", Angela Merkel admitted shortly before the 20th anniversary of the Wall's opening (SMD, 2009). Many in Germany still feels "the economic, social and psychological divisions once demarcated by the Wall" and "the country had yet to fulfil promises made when East and West reunited in 1990", claimed CNN (2009).

She has also said that Germany faced "a challenge the likes of which it has not seen since reunification," a reference to the immense costs of raising the social and economic standards in the former East to the levels equivalent to western regions (Dempsey, 2009). 

"In the new (former East German) states we also have far greater structural unemployment than is the case in the old federal republic", claimed the German chancellor, and reunification a "political and economic success for the people in all parts of Germany" even though it has "not yet been achieved in all areas"   (DPA, 2010)

Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, who had been a state secretary for West Germany - and his cousin Lothar de Maiziere was East Germany’s only freely elected premier - argued, "we objectively had too little time, we were driven people". West Germans had taken a "paternalistic stance towards the East — along the lines of 'we know what’s right for our sisters and brothers in the East'", stated de Maiziere, although "in truth, we did not know" (DPA, 2010)

These reports confirm the mentality in Germany, that after 20 years since the Wall was breached and €1.3 trillion (SMD, 2009) later, the social and psychological divide is still evident. 

CNN (2009) Berlin celebrates night that changed world. [Online] [04/08/2010]
Dempsey, J. (2009) Merkel Says Worst Still Ahead in Germany. [Online] [04/08/2010]
DPA (2010) 20 years on, German reunification still not complete: Merkel. [Online] [04/08/2010]
SMD (2009) 20 Years On Berlin Celebrates the Day the Wall Fell. [Online],1518,660134,00.html [04/08/2010]