"Rather half a century": Merkel: reunification takes longer





To the day exactly 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the chancellor speaks with a sober assessment. The agreement is much longer than expected, she says. Germany could still take decades. And many still have to learn the "troubles of freedom."


Chancellor Angela Merkel assumes that the reunification of East and West Germany takes much more time than originally predicted. "For some people who thought they would balance between East and West, you can see today that it takes more than half a century or more," Merkel told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Shortly after the reunification, Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who was then in office, had promised that East Germany would quickly turn into "blossoming landscapes". His much-quoted statement, which was used as a winged word in the German language, comes from the election campaign in 1990. In the years after reunification, critics often resorted to Kohl's words to point out abuses and persistent structural weaknesses in the East.

"After ten or twenty years, you had the hope that things would be faster," Merkel said, referring to the social developments after the reunification and the anniversary of the fall of the wall on November 9, 1989. "But thirty years already have something almost final."

Life in the GDR "almost comfortable"

The 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is, according to her, more intensively debated than previous anniversaries. "I take that too true," Merkel said. She also blames the return of the nationalist for this: "Moreover, it may now be felt more intensely because nationalist and protectionist tendencies have increased worldwide, so that more is being discussed from a national point of view to the differences that exist between the old and the new federal states. "

Merkel campaigned for patience. "Even the effort of freedom to decide everything has to be learned," she said. "You have to take care of a lot more, and that is not something that is inherent in all: Life in the GDR was sometimes almost convenient in a certain way, because you simply could not influence some things." The Chancellor can speak from her own experience. Merkel, born in 1954, grew up in the Uckermark.

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