After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the contrast between East and West Germany remained
"The situation in the East is far better than its reputation," the Angela Merkel government said with satisfaction at the end of September when presenting its annual report on German unity.
However: in 2018, in the five regions of the former GDR, GDP per capita reached only 74.7 per cent of the level in West Germany. Since 2010, this difference has decreased by 3.1 percent, thanks to a network of around 3,000 small and medium-sized enterprises and the dynamism of Berlin, Leipzig or Dresden. In 1990, the former GDR was far behind, bleeding out its industrial sector, inherited from communist collectivism.
The improvement does not compensate for the lack of large companies like Volkswagen, Siemens or Bayer, whose headquarters are in the western part of the country without exception, and which employ tens of thousands of people.
The provinces of the former GDR are also lagging behind in the western regions in terms of average wages. In 2018, workers in the West received an average of € 3,339 gross monthly salary, compared to about € 2,600 in the East, according to the Federal Labor Agency.
Accustomed to state-guaranteed full-time employment in the former GDR, Germans from the East experienced, in the 1990s and the next decade, the shock of unemployment, which reached 30 percent in some cities.
But after reaching peak levels in 2005, unemployment has fallen sharply, partly because of the demographic decline and the increase in part-time jobs (30.5 percent in the East versus 27.6 percent in the West).
In August 2019, the unemployment rate reached 4.8 percent in West Germany, compared to 6.4 percent in the eastern part of the country. The cities with the highest unemployment rates, however, are located in West Germany - Gelsenkirchen (13.8 percent in April), Bremerhaven and Duisburg (12 percent).
In general, aging Germany, where the average age has increased from 40 years in 1990 to 45 years in 2018, the demographic situation in the former GDR remains problematic.
Since 1991, the population of the new regions has dropped from 14.6 to 12.6 million people, while in the West (including Berlin) it has increased from 65.3 million to 69.6 million.
The dynamism of cities like Dresden, Jena or Leipzig fails to cover up the mass exodus and aging of the population affecting these regions. Downtowns offer the sad look of shops and blocks for sale.
In some cities, such as Zul (Thuringia) or Frankfurt-Oder (Brandenburg), the population has dropped by more than 30 percent in 30 years, which has implications for public services and infrastructure.
The mass emigration of young people to the West or abroad in the early 1990s has led to a decline in the birth rate in the East - a phenomenon the effects of which will be felt for several decades, according to demographers.
The reception of hundreds of thousands of refugees in Germany by 2015 was not enough to reverse the trend, especially since most of them chose West Germany.
Established in 2013, the far-right party Alternative to Germany achieved its highest results in the East, where it now receives between 20 and 30 percent of the vote, compared to an average of 10 percent in the West.
To the east, where traditional parties and the former Communist Left are in decline, is also the cradle of the Islamophobic Pegida movement, which has been gathering thousands of protesters in Dresden every Monday in recent years.
This situation, according to political scientists, is related to the fact that many East Germans have the feeling that they are "second-hand citizens". According to recent polls, 74 percent believe that "very large differences" persist between the two parts of the country. & Nbsp;
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Yes, but these are clearly smarter than we are, in the west both geographically and politically, and farther from Russia by the same parameters. They are '56 and '68, Romania has Kyoveshi, we Tsatsarov and Geshev, and how many things still make us a complete tragedy.
And this is Germany. Even as the GFD poured billions into the eastern part, it has been impossible for 30 years to overcome their backwardness as a result of socialism, and we, since we do not have Western Bulgaria to help us how to cope.