Comment in the German press on the 10th anniversary of the destruction of the Berlin Wall
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The Independent Culture
In spite of all the whining on both sides: Germany's unity succeeded. There is no other country in the world that experienced in such a brief period of time such a comparable economic change. But many people have mixed up the fever that was in the air at that time with the goal of growing together. This has resulted in sobriety, but also in the fact that every seventh German is wishing for the Wall to come back. This is an unexpected but understandable reaction. Those who had lived for more than four decades in totally different social systems are unable to cope with such a transformation process overnight. The talk about "inner-unity" is only a catchphrase. The people in the east and the west will keep their peculiarities, and this is desirable and stimulating. But what we do not have are politicians who act in an overall German way, especially in west Germany.

Magdeburger Stimme

We are currently experiencing a change of values. Not only those east Germans who are unable to cope with the collapse of the formerly proud GDR industry, an industry that failed because it was not competitive. And for west Germans, it is difficult to realise that, with the fall of the Wall, at the end of the Cold War, the times of a satiated life are over. Those who consider the more than DM 1.5 trillion that were pumped into the east to help the east German economy recover as a reason for the problems in west Germany, have not comprehended that the changes in the world have an effect on everybody. The west Germans wanted everything to remain as it was after the end of the Wall, while the east Germans wanted the development that prevailed in the west for the past 40 years. We arrived in the 21st century long ago, but nobody wants to accept it.

Munchener Merkur

In the autumn of 1989, freedom had the effect of a drug. Together, the Germans wanted to achieve an unstoppable economic recovery, but in reality the markets in eastern Europe collapsed. The second economic miracle is still a long time in coming, and the Germans act as if they are whining and stymied. It is certainly true that nobody can achieve miracles, but we could have expected greater political commitment from quite a few politicians for problems in the east. International contacts may have distracted the attention of our politicians from the east. In other countries, people are looking with concern and with admiration at the gigantic reconstruction efforts in the east German Lander. They are recognising that the more the Federal Republic is distracted by its own difficulties, the more willing will Germany be to be integrated into international agreements.

Die Zeit

The Wall fell 10 years ago and people rejoiced in the new freedom. Freedom? Another concept has dominated politics in unified Germany: social justice. In the name of social justice the Federal Republic is paralysed, clings to old institutions and regulations. It is high time to talk about freedom again. A change of perspective is necessary. Where is freedom? Where is the liberal idea? It has been discredited as "neo-liberalism". That means those who mouth industry's words and want to let the poor remain poor. That means a party which indeed is called liberal, but has served the rich and done its service. More freedom means less justice, but at the moment both are disappearing at the same time. Schroder's policy of consolidation has found few friends. If he does have a vision of a creative liberal society he is brilliant at hiding it.