Germany is marking 16 years of reunification today but continuing east-west divisions and political uncertainty also threaten to marr the celebrations. The population of East Germany has fallen by nearly a million since 1990, as people move away in search of a better life.
Wages in the east are 23 percent lower and unemployment more than 8 percent higher than in the west. Far-right parties are now represented in three out of five of the former Communist states and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party is struggling in the polls. Nevertheless no expense has been spared for festivities in the northern city of Kiel, where Merkel is expected to give a speech.