30 years after the Peaceful Revolution, the Federal Government is continuing to aspire to establish equivalent standards of living throughout the country and to reduce disparities. A lot of progress has been made on the convergence of economic performance and the standard of living between eastern and western Germany: The transport, energy and telecommunications infrastructure has been massively modernised and expanded. The condition of the buildings in towns and villages has visibly improved, and most of the enormous pent-up need for renovation and modernisation from GDR times has been tackled. The new Länder are an attractive place to establish young, innovative companies and research establishments. This is particularly obvious in the field of renewable energy. The presence of environmental and energy technologies is above average, and is playing an increasingly prominent role in economic development.
However, there are still some disparities. For example, the strength of the eastern German economy is still smaller than that of the western German economy. Even cities like Leipzig, which have stronger economies, only attain the level of structurally weaker urban regions in western Germany. This impacts on the wage level, disposable income, tax revenues and thus also the scope for many municipalities to act. To a large extent, people’s assessment of their economic situation and standard of living is generally close to what you will find in western Germany. But there is also a part of the population where dissatisfaction and a sense of being disadvantaged prevail.
The report provides texts and diagrams assessing the status of German unity, and flags up successes, problems and trends. It addresses the current challenges and the structural changes in eastern Germany, and describes what the German government is doing to tackle these. It also contains an annex with relevant economic data.