After 1989 Schön, a master craftsman from Stralsund, a city on the Baltic Sea, initially racked up one success after the next. Although he no longer owns the Porsche he bought after reunification, the lion skin rug he bought on a vacation trip to South Africa -- one of many overseas trips he has made in the past 20 years -- is still lying on his living room floor. "There's no doubt it: I've been fortunate," says the 51-year-old today. A major contract he scored during the period following reunification made it easier for Schön to start his own business. Today he has a clear view of the Strelasund sound from the window of his terraced house.
The harmonization of standards of living proclaimed in Germany's constitution remains an ongoing goal. But how that goal is achieved will no longer be subject to east-west criteria. The Left Party also cannot divest itself of this development. Its "eastern wing" no longer functions as a society to defend eastern German roots. Young Left Party politicians haven't been influenced by the GDR in a long time, and they don't try to attract support by highlighting competence on "eastern issues." Sahra Wagenknecht, a former supporter of former East German Communist politician Walter Ulbricht, has completed the step out of the eastern niche more clearly than most. Today she simply behaves as a German, both privately and politically.
Westerners leave behind structurally weak regions that fight with a much higher poverty risk than western regions (German) , as an inequality and poverty report published Tuesday by the German government shows. The government had been criticized for adjusting a Dec. 2012 draft of the report by weakening the phrasing of statements about negative outcomes in order to “mirror Germany’s current well-being,” as German economy minister and vice chancellor Philipp Rösler argued. Critics have called for studies like this to be conducted by an independent economic institute rather than a government committee.