'Best Germany yet' marks 30th anniversary of reunification
BERLIN (AP) — On Saturday, Germany celebrated its 30th anniversary and broadly demonstrated the good strides that it has accomplished in knitting East and West together.
He proclaimed that today is "the best Germany ever had," and offered the "peaceful demonstrators" a new memorial which helped to put an end to Communist rule.
After four decades of Cold War separation, Germany was reunited on Oct. 3, 1990.
Less than one year after the communist regimes of the East opened the Berlin Wall and the majority of the highly-fortified frontier between the two states on 9 November 1989 under increasing opposition, East Germany entered the Western Federal Republic.
Economic and other disparities between the west and the deprived east remain while much change has been made since then.
In recent years, a long-term pattern has stopped that has seen more people fleeing the east than going there.
In the East, pensions are similar to the West's standard, but incomes are smaller.
And the biggest businesses in Germany are still based in the west, although political fragmentation was more visible in the last couple of years in the east.
This coronavirus pandemic indicated that the festivities in a hall in Potsdam, just outside Berlin, were surprisingly small – as Chancellor Angela Merkel put it this week, "still quieter than the occasion really deserves." The main ceremony was performed by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier with 230 guests in a hall in the vicinity of Berlin.
On the anniversary of reunification, Germany is "rightly happy," "and no pandemic would be able to avoid this," Steinmeier said.
He summarized conflicting emotions regarding the gains achieved over the past three decades by stating that "we're not too much as we should be, but we're further along at the same time than we thought."
Steinmeier said that Eastern cities like Leipzig and Rostock now are economically stronger than sections of the Ruhr region, with "more and more Eastern storys of progress."
In comparison to the re-unification, Steinmeier had been compelled to take effect almost 150 years before, followed by nonviolent demonstrations, and concluded an international pact, "brutally compelled by the unified German state, iron and blood after battle with our neighbors on the grounds of Prussian supremacy, militarism and imperialism."
"Now we live in the greatest Germany ever," said the chancellor.
"Thank you everybody who fought with it."
He called for the foundation of a monument to East German 'peaceful rebels,' who placed an end to the Communist regime.
This will supplement current memorials at the Berlin Wall and past facilities operated by the Secret Police of Stasi, East Germany, as well as a recently proposed unification memorial in Berlin.
Germany could use "a position where East Germans take their own destiny and free themselves," said Steinmeier.