Germany affords classes for many who desire a referendum on a united Eire – The Irish Instances


Three major things I had hoped but never expected to see in my lifetime: the fall of the Iron Curtain, the end of apartheid in South Africa and a stop to the violent Troubles in Northern Ireland. Happily, all three came to pass.

The fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago tomorrow triggered the most fundamental change in Europe since the second World War. Within months it saw the re-unification of Germany after almost 50 years of separate existence. However, while Germany was reunited in 1990, with positive economic outcomes, some fault lines from the past are still apparent.

In 1990, the reunification of Germany enjoyed huge support in both the east and west which, in the early years, facilitated a very difficult transition. East Germany was merged into the existing West Germany, with the existing West German institutions now serving the united state.

The strategy to bring about a unified country put major emphasis on rebuilding the run-down infrastructure of the east. In the early years, when infrastructural investment was massively ramped up, it was mainly financed by borrowing, so that West Germans did not immediately feel the costs involved.

However, the massive transfer of resources from west to east to help build the economic success story came, after the initial couple of years, from the pockets of the better-off westerners.

Regional development in the old East Germany over the past 30 years has been a major success story compared to regional outcomes in Poland, Italy and the UK over the same period.



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