German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday drew an initial positive balance of progress since 1989, but warned that differences between the former East and West Germany still needed to be evened out.
Much has been achieved in the three decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Merkel said in her podcast ahead of German Unity Day on October 3.
The national holiday celebrates the reunification of Germany in 1990.
However, “a lot remains to be done,” she said.
For example, the economic power of the new federal states in the east at the time of reunification stood at 43 per cent of western German states.
That ration has risen to 75 per cent, Merkel added.
“So it was a great success. On the other hand, there is still a long way to go. And that in many areas,” the German chancellor stated.
On one side, she said, differences between East and West must be further harmonised, for example in the pension system.
“On the other hand, it is a matter of shaping the future together – that means also thinking about where there are different living conditions throughout Germany,” she said.
Creating equal living conditions in all parts of Germany, both in urban and rural areas, was a major project of Merkel’s government, she added.
She said that one should not “make a general distinction between East and West, because there are now many years of life together”.
For the year between November 9, the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and October 3, 2020, the 30th anniversary of German unity, the German Government has set up a committee on “peaceful revolution and German unity.”
Its aim is to discuss with citizens everything that unites and separates Germans.
“That is our answer to the differences that still exist, but also to the many things that have already been achieved,” Merkel said.
In her weekly podcast called “Angela Merkel – The Chancellor direct,” Merkel comments on her policies.