The long list of those thanked by Kohl began with former Hungarian Minister President Laszlo Nemeth, who, a year ago, opened the border for the [East German] refugees who were camped out in the [West German] embassy [in Budapest], thereby removing the “first stone from the Berlin Wall.” Kohl then thanked the Germans in East Germany. He said their courage, composure, and love of freedom were to thank for the unity that would be realized in a state of freedom over the next several weeks.
Kohl went on to include the Western partners in his expression of thanks, mentioning Presidents Bush and Mitterrand. He also mentioned the citizens’ and human rights movements in Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia, and above all, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Kohl said that it was Gorbachev’s reform policy that made the far-reaching changes in Germany and Europe possible.
Kohl had special praise for his predecessor Konrad Adenauer and the contributions he made to the unification of Germany that is about to be achieved. What Adenauer described in his memoirs is finally being realized, said Kohl.
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In the second part of his government declaration, Chancellor Kohl discussed the economic problems in East Germany, referring to numerous positive signs that had received little attention thus far. For example, he mentioned the fact that 100,000 new companies were founded in East Germany in the first half of the year – 35,000 of them in July alone. Apparently, the cost of living in the month of July, the first month after the creation of the monetary union, was 5.5% lower than in the preceding months of the year, even though salaries and pensions had increased.
The present situation is marked by the transition from a planned to a market economy. The problems that arose over the course of forty years of mismanagement could not be corrected in eight weeks, Kohl said. According to the chancellor, the reconstruction of East Germany remains a question of months and years, not days. Furthermore, at this turning point in German history, success depends on everyone’s participation in a great common effort. Kohl pointed out that 57 billion German marks had been made available to support the GDR budget for the first eighteen months alone. The federal government would push for quick payment of these funds. In addition, approved liquidity aid would have to be paid out faster and more efficiently. Kohl announced that the government would provide “extensive additional support” for the export of agricultural commodities from East Germany. Once again, Kohl contradicted the assertion made by SPD chancellor candidate Lafontaine on numerous occasions, namely that the difficulties of the GDR could have been avoided without an economic, monetary, and social union. Whoever maintains this, Kohl suggested, represses all memories of the 300,000 resettlers [Übersiedler], who came to the Federal Republic between November 1989 and February 1990. They made this decision necessary, and they were the decisive reason for the monetary union.