Critical statements in the media and from politicians referred above all to the additional financial burdens for the federal government, which originally demanded that it receive a higher share of sales tax revenues and must now accept even a reduction from 63 to 56%; by contrast, the old federal states had been spared extensive additional burdens. The “Unity Front of the sixteen old and new states” [Handelsblatt] vigorously opposed the federal government and pushed through the majority of its demands. The weekly Die Zeit saw a “missed opportunity” and wrote: “The self-praise of those involved sounded boastful – and hollow: the solidarity pact is no proof of political creativity. Still missing is a convincing concept of how the economy in the East can finally be invigorated and the economic downturn in West Germany can be halted. With resolute action, the political leadership could have pulled the ground out from underneath the citizens’ moroseness. But the compromise package does not do justice to even the most urgent necessities. Anyone who wants to be content with what has been achieved despite this must put the bar pretty low. In and of itself, clarity about the fact that a solidarity surcharge will first be imposed on January 1, 1995, that is, not during the recession, does not justify a positive verdict on the overall package. [ . . . ] Just how little creative energy was invested is evident in the fact that, once again, the round of politicians could only come up with one way to finance new and sensible expenditures, like the housing construction program for the new states: debts and more debts. Of all the good intentions – saving and re-allocation – only traces, at best, are visible in the Solidarity Pact.”
Source: “Die Vereinbarung über den Solidarpakt” [“The Agreement on the Solidarity Pact”], Archiv der Gegenwart, March 16, 1993, pp. 48032-36.
Translation: Thomas Dunlap