Government makes return to Berlin

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The Independent Online
BELOW THE stained-glass murals of muscular workers and pretty women of immaculate peasant stock, history was made, yesterday, when the government of united Germany held its first meeting in Berlin since 1945.

In a symbolic outing to the old capital, Gerhard Schroder's cabinet marched through a gateway rescued from the Prussian royal palace, and into the building which was used by the former East German leader Erich Honecker. There, they took up seats around a large table and discussed ways of tackling youth unemployment.

A new chancellery being built by the river Spree will be delayed by at least three months, so the first meeting cannot be held there until next October. Meanwhile, Mr Schroder will be working from a cavernous office adjacent to Honecker's, but will live in a villa in what was west Berlin.