These past days have been marked with celebrations on the 20th. anniversary of the Berlin Wall downfall. What seemed to indicate the changing tide in the East-West confrontation was in truth the first step towards the breaking-up of the now extinct USSR.
Slowly, the defunct East German regime was introduced to the flourishing West German economy. Change seemed to be in the way towards one single Germany.
Today, 20 years after, in spite of Angela Merkel’s assurance that the Berlin Wall is History and that German unity is a reality, the facts show that 8 M Eastern Germans have yet a way to go before they feel fully integrated into the single Germany headed by a Prime minister that grew up in the east.
Reunification is much more than an economic-political assumption of laws, norms & regulations dictated by the Bundestag now seated in a single City of Berlin. The social issues require far more than two decades and may well take another generation before former Eastern Germans start to feel themselves as one with the wessis. Unemployment in former East Germany doubles that of the western sector and at least 1 M German citizens from the former pro-soviet bloc are difficult to fit into jobs designed for western profiles. Besides, in a similar manner that Merkel felt strongly attached to their old homeland for family reasons, most citizens in the eastern side do not wish to transfer to other parts of the reunited Germany to start out new lives.
Germany has cost the European Union some economic effort in lieu of reunification, all in the hope that the reunited Germany would be the engine of the Union´s economy. After the crisis started, doubts are in all minds whether the impact of an added 16 M population to the EU was the right step towards a political dream that is costing everyone more efforts while producing fewer results than expected.
Fernando Fuster-Fabra, Madríd