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Lothar de Maizière's Government Program (April 19, 1990)

Prime Minister Lothar de Maizière of the CDU presents his government program to the newly elected Volkskammer. He focuses on rapid unification but also insists that West Germany must share its wealth to make conditions acceptable for the East German people.

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The renewal of our society grew from the cry "We are the people!" The people have become conscious of themselves. For the first time in decades, the population of the GDR has constituted itself as a people. The elections that led to the formation of this parliament were the people’s elections. For the first time, the Volkskammer does justice to its name.

And the cry “We are the people!” gave rise to the cry “We are one people!” The people of the GDR considered itself part of a people, part of the German people, which is to grow together once again. Our voters gave clear expression to their political will in the elections of March 18, 1990. That will is binding on us. It is our joint responsibility is to fulfill it as best we can. [ . . . ]

The task given to the government by the voters demands the establishment of German unity in an undivided, peaceful Europe. This demand includes conditions regarding speed and quality.

Unity must come as quickly as possible but under conditions that are as good, reasonable, and workable as necessary.

The debate on a monetary conversion at [an exchange rate of] 1:1 or 1:2 has made it abundantly clear that there is a connection here and that we must agree on conditions that ensure that GDR citizens do not feel like second-class citizens of the Federal Republic. Both goals, speed and quality, can be best guaranteed if our path to unity is based on a treaty in accordance with Article 23 of the Basic Law.

Since last summer we have experienced many wonderful signs of friendship, helpfulness, and openness from the citizens of the Federal Republic. But we are also concerned to see a trend toward decreasing willingness to sacrifice and to show solidarity.

Hence, we extend a heartfelt request to the citizens of the Federal Republic: Bear in mind that we have had to carry the heavier burden of German history for 40 years. The GDR, as is well known, received no Marshall Plan aid; instead, we had to pay reparations. We do not expect sacrifices from you. We expect mutuality and solidarity. The division can only be eliminated by dividing things up.

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