Merkel: After boosting eastern Germany, time to help the west

26th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

The government is currently considering boosting public spending, notably to help renovate buildings and transportation networks, in a bid to counter the economic recession.

Berlin -- After nearly 20 years of heavy public spending to help rebuild Germany's former communist eastern regions, more money should now be spent in the west, Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

"There's now a backlog of need" in western Germany, said Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, in an interview in the political magazine Cicero.

Helping depressed former East Germany, still struggling with massive unemployment and under-investment, has long been a priority for the government with more than one trillion dollars transferred from west to east.

But "when I travel through the old federal states (western Germany), I see many town halls, schools, and public buildings dating back to the 1960s and 70s, while much in the east is new," Merkel said.

Her government is currently considering boosting public spending, notably to help renovate buildings and transportation networks, in a bid to counter the economic recession.

"When considering financial incentives to foster investment, the government will take into account the fact that the west has taken a back seat to the east since reunification," Merkel said. "Now it is more the west's turn."

Germany will next year mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in a peaceful revolution on November 9, 1989, which led to national unification 11 months later.

Since then the eastern states have lagged behind the more prosperous west on average, with slower economic growth and double the jobless rate.

AFP/Expatica

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