As to a recent article on DW.com, three decades on from reunification, Germany is still a divided country in many ways. And the differences between the former East and West Germany are not just about the economy.
Germany’s commissioner for the new federal states, Marco Wanderwitz, insists that: “Since 1990, the two Germanies have in many ways become much more similar.” He points to people’s leisure pursuits as an example. “There are more things we share,” he concludes, “than things that divide us.”
But is that really so? The Annual Report on the Status of German Unity, published in September, seems to tell a different story.
One area of difference is relative economic strength; the economic output of the former East is almost a third lower than that of Germany as a whole. Incomes in the East are 10% lower, and the unemployment rate is higher.
Wanderwitz freely admits that these deficits exist. But he hopes that the East can turn things around by attracting next-generation technologies like electric cars, with Tesla’s new plant on the outskirts of Berlin providing a model. Other areas that the commissioner identifies as promising include mobility, hydrogen technologies and artificial intelligence (AI).
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