From the Collapse of the Communist Regime to the Unification of Germany Part VII

The problem of inserting the GDR into the EEC (greatly simplified by the adoption of the unification procedure according to Article 23) was set by the Dublin European Council on 28 April 1990 along the lines of Delors’ proposals. State unification would automatically have led to the inclusion in the EEC of the territory of the former GDR, with the entry into force of Community law, by means of a series of transitional rules. At the same time, the federal government, in concert with the French one, proposed the launch of a government conference for the parallel realization of the economic-monetary union and the political union, both to be completed by January 1993, as if to underline that the national unification policy would not diminish Germany’s Community commitment.

On July 16, 1990, Chancellor Kohl succeeded in removing the last and greatest obstacle, namely the Soviet opposition to the membership of all Germany in NATO. In the same days that Ukraine emulated the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic(RSFSR) in declaring itself sovereign, Gorbachev accepted the US-BRD position. The compromise provided for the reduction of the troops of the Germany united to 370,000 men (compared to the 480,000 of the Bundeswehr alone) and the withdrawal by 1994 of the Soviet ones from the federal government (return that would have been subsidized with 12 billion DM), and even the future presence on the former GDR territory of German troops integrated into NATO. A new credit of DM 5 billion was granted to the USSR. On the basis of this agreement, subsequently implemented and integrated by four other German-Soviet treaties on cooperation and economic aid (October and November 1990), the “ 2 + 4 ” negotiation was concluded with the treaty of 12 September 1990 By putting an end to the residual rights of the 4 victorious powers, it restored complete sovereignty to Germany, unified within the post-war borders. Subsequently, two German-Polish treaties confirmed the border of the

The unification treaty was signed on 31 August 1990 and on 3 October the GDR adhered, on the basis of art. 23 of the Fundamental Law, to the BRD, incorporating it, with a series of transitional norms, institutions and law. The first Parliament of the United Kingdom was elected on 2 December 1990, according to a special electoral law which, following a ruling by the Constitutional Court, had established the 5% barrier separately for the former BRD and the former DDR. The vote marked a double plebiscite for unity and for the Bonn coalition, with a further decline in the PDS and the failure of the Western Greens to return to the Bundestag (see table 4). On June 20, 1991, after a heated controversy, Berlin was chosen as the seat of the government and parliament of the unified Germany

Economically, the BRD found itself in particularly favorable conditions to face the challenge of unification. Thanks to a prolonged boom period, it had hit an employment record, with around 2 million new jobs created since 1983, and an unemployment rate finally dropped to around 6.5%. On the other hand, the volume of the East German economy did not exceed 1/8 of the federal one.

According to Youremailverifier, the economic start of unification, if it has disproved the alarmists in the West, however, proved to be much more difficult than expected in the East. The permanence of many old bureaucratic personnel; the unexpected degree of destruction of the environment; the unresolved question of properties expropriated in various ways, especially under the GDR regime, but also previously, under the Nazi regime and then under the Soviet administration (1945-49), and now to be returned to the former owners, or to be compensated (which prevented purchases and rents of properties essential for investments); the levels established by the new wage contracts and, above all, the indiscriminate employment guarantees, considerably hampered the hoped-for rapid recovery of the economy in 1990-92 following the hoped-for wave of investments. The new internal and external conditions have also begun to transform the old latent unemployment (disguised according to the practice of socialist economies into a plethoric, not very productive, underutilized when not fictitiously employed) into blatant unemployment. The unemployment rate, in fact, despite the use of multiple interventions on the labor market – from retraining, to early retirement, to part-time work – has already risen in 1992 to 15% in the new Länder. Originally established by the Modrow transitional government to manage the empire of the public economy, the Treuhandstelle instead followed the new direction given to it by its second president D. Rohwedder (assassinated in April 1991), namely the privatization of companies with extensive reorganization. This approach was later decisively accentuated by Rohwedder’s successor, B. Breuel, in favor of the priority of a complete and prompt privatization, against lively opposition in the East as well as in the West, concerned above all with the maintenance of jobs immediately. After a slow start, the Treuhandstelle it managed to sell, by November 1991, almost 25% of the companies and to return another 4.3% to the original owners, closing only 5.8%; in 1992 the privatization of about half of the entire assets was planned, which had represented just under the total economy of the former GDR. The social costs, first of all the experience of massive unemployment – especially in the classic branches of industry and with dramatic accentuations in the north of the country – while being high, did not cause a social collapse. Despite the first signs of economic recovery, especially in trade, crafts, construction and some free professions, and the signs indicating a rapid and profound modernization of the production system, industrial production in 1992 was still lower than in 1989. Economic reconstruction has not yet developed a self-propulsive dynamic, continuing to require a gigantic transfer of resources from the West, used not only in investments, but about half in consumption itself (in particular social expenses, public administration, transport).

From the Collapse of the Communist Regime to the Unification of Germany 7