Progress and continued commitment
In a video conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday, the Heads of Government of the Länder in the east of the country discussed what has been achieved so far, and important projects for the future of their regions. At a joint press conference, Angela Merkel and Brandenburg’s Minister President Dietmar Woidke presented the outcomes.
Levelling living conditions
Last December, the Commission on the 30th Anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution and German Reunification presented a list of recommendations for action to shape the continuing process of reunification and to strengthen social cohesion in Germany. These proposals were on the agenda of the video conference of the Heads of Government of the Eastern Länder. A Future Centre for German Unity and European Transformation is to harness relevant experience of the people in the new Länder more effectively, and to spotlight their life achievements more.
At the press conference on Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel also stressed that there are still structural weaknesses, but that good results were recently achieved within the framework of European financial planning, in order to address this. Remembering the peaceful revolution and achieving comparable living conditions across the country are still important. A programme for gifted and talented individuals is to help more East Germans enter managerial and executive positions. Ending the use of coal to generate power is another mammoth task ahead, said the Chancellor.
Renewable energy – an opportunity
“East Germany has the best of opportunities for the future,” summed up Brandenburg’s Minister President Dietmar Woidke. This part of the country is a step ahead in terms of developing renewable energy, and should now exploit the fact to attract businesses. The Ostdeutsche Wirtschaftsforum (East German business forum) is also to be further developed at international level.
When decisions are made on where to locate public authorities and research facilities, there have been a lot of changes in recent years, but East Germany still lags behind the West of the country. Dietmar Woidke thanked Chancellor Angela Merkel for ensuring that special attention has been given to the Eastern Länder in the policies of the Federal Government.
Fighting right-wing extremism
On the issue of right-wing extremism. The Chancellor stated clearly, “Every citizen counts. It is a loss if people turn their back on democracy. I will never simply accept this as an incontrovertible fact.” Minister President Dietmar Woidke stressed the need to take intensive action to fight ring-wing extremis. It is a challenge for the whole of Germany, he said.
The Heads of Government of the Eastern Länder generally meet twice a year. They discuss issues that are particularly relevant for the new Länder and agree on common positions. Once a year the Chancellor attends the meeting.