Germany was forced to shrink its celebration of the 30th anniversary of its reunification on Saturday because of the coronavirus.
Just 230 guests — about one-fifth of the audience originally planned — were expected to attend a ceremony in Potsdam, just outside Berlin, led by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged that the celebrations “will be quieter than the occasion would actually deserve,” The Associated Press reported.
East and West Germany recombined on Oct. 3, 1990, 45 years after they were divided by the Cold War. The reunification came less than a year after protests forced the east’s communist rulers to open the Berlin Wall and the rest of the border.
“We have achieved a lot in these 30 years,” Merkel, who grew up in the east, told Germany’s parliament this week. “We have succeeded in significantly reducing the differences in living conditions between eastern and western Germany.”
“But structural differences remain,” she added. “Further efforts are necessary.”
French President Emmanuel Macron saluted the anniversary in a tweet, noting that it helped pave the way for European reunification. “Today, we jointly defend democracy and progress, at the heart of our identity, our sovereignty and European solidarity. Our European determination unites us!”
Author : Eileen AJ Connelly