Last Friday marked the 24th birthday of the reunification of Germany. On October 3, 1990, when the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany, then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl predicted that the run-down former East Germany would become a “blooming landscape.” Economic hopes and expectations from that historic day have only been partially fulfilled.
The government’s latest annual report on German reunification maintains that there is little difference between East and West in terms of quality of life and infrastructure. But the truth is, progress in bringing the two together has come to a standstill.
Between 1991 and 2005, real gross domestic product per employed person rose in the new states of eastern Germany by more than 100 percent. In western Germany it rose less than 10 percent. Between 2005 and 2013, however, growth in both areas was less than 4 percent.