4 Oct 2012

National unity marked by Germany

11:57 am on 4 October 2012

Germany is marking 22 years of national unity with parties and ceremonies commemorating the end of the country's post-war division.

Political leaders on Wednesday both praised Germany's hard earned freedoms and underscored the country's responsibilities to Europe.

East and West Germany were joined officially on 3 October, 1990, less than 12 months after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Both Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck are from the former East Germany.

But Deutsche Welle reports there is still a huge income gap between East and West.

Unemployment in eastern Germany is 12% , nearly twice as high as in the west (6.9%).

Those living between the Baltic coast and the Czech Republic receive only around 85% of the salary of those living between Hamburg and Munich.

Some 42% still feel like second-class citizens, a figure that has not changed since the beginning of Mrs Merkel's chancellorship in 2005.

None of the 14 ministers that Mrs Merkel appointed to her cabinet come from the former East.

Deutsche Welle reports the worlds of German business and media are just as imbalanced. Not one of the 30 top German companies that make up the DAX market index is led by an East German.