German Unification Treaty
order that the GDR (German Democratic Republic) could be represented in the negotiations
with a democratic mandate, free elections were held there on 18 March 1990, the
first in 40 years. Lothar de Maizieare became the head of a grand coalition made
up of the CDU, DSU, DA, SPD and FDP. With him the Bonn government agreed on a
time-table for economic, monetary and social union with effect from 1 July 1990,
it having become palpably clear that the GDR had no economic basis on which to
continue alone, and that the majority of the people in the GDR wanted accession
to the Federal Republic.
In August the Volkskammer (East German parliament) voted
in favour of accession as soon as possible, and on 31 August GDR State Secretary
Gunter Krause and Wolfgang Schauble, Federal Minister of the Interior, were able
to sign the 'Unification Treaty'. Thus on 3 October 1990 the German Democratic
Republic officially acceded to the Federal Republic in accordance with article
23 of the Basic Law.
The East German states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western
Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia became states (Lander) of the Federal
Republic of Germany. Berlin was made the capital and the Basic Law, after appropriate
amendments, applied to the former GDR as well.
The road to unity had been opened by Mikhail Gorbachev,
who had given his approval after talks with Chancellor Kohl in Moscow and the
Caucasian town of Stavropol in July 1990. He did so on condition that the Federal
Republic would forgo NBC weapons and reduce its forces to 370,000, and that NATO's
military organization would not be extended to GDR territory so long as Soviet
forces remained stationed there. The two leaders also agreed that the Soviet troops
would be withdrawn from East Germany by the end of 1994, and that the Federal
Republic would provide financial support for their repatriation. Mr Gorbachev's
agreement also meant that the so-called Two-plus-Four Treaty could also be signed.
Within that framework the Soviet Union, the United States, France and the United
Kingdom, as well as the representatives of the two German states, confirmed the
unification of Germany consisting of the territories of the former GDR, the Federal
Republic and Berlin. Germany's external borders were recognized as definitive.
Bonn and Warsaw concluded a separate treaty to take account of Poland's special
security needs in the light of history. The two sides agreed to respect each other's
territorial integrity and sovereignty.
The ratification of the Unification Treaty and the Two-plus-Four
Treaty marked the termination of the rights and responsibilities of the four victorious
powers 'with respect to Berlin and Germany as a whole'. Germany thus regained
complete sovereignty over her internal and external affairs which she had lost
45 years previously with the fall of the nazi dictatorship.
Following the restoration of national unity and the tremendous
geopolitical changes that have taken place in connection with the disintegration
of the communist systems of eastern Europe, Germany and her partners face completely
new challenges. The reconstruction process in the new German states must be vigorously
continued so that the country's internal unity can be completed. Europe must develop
into a political union. And a global architecture of peace and security must be
National, European and global responsibilities are inseparably
linked together. Eastern Germany's recovery and consolidation cannot take place
unless it is closely bound up with the process of European integration. Europe,
on the other hand, cannot acquire its new structure unless it is open to the reformist
countries of central and eastern Europe. The countries of the shattered eastern
European community must be brought into a close relationship with the common European
and Atlantic organizations not only economically but politically as well. The
completion of German unity using the nation-state approach of the past is just
as inconceivable as creating a 'Fortress Europe' to shut out the nations of Asia
or the Third World.
The larger Germany is seeking to do justice to her correspondingly
larger ooperation in close union with her European and atlantic partners. Her
aim, in the words of President Richard von Weizsacker, is 'to serve world peace
as part of a united Europe'. And Chancellor Helmut Kohl has emphasized that the
country will con- tinue to fulfil that role within the ambit of the western alliance.
'The Alliance', he said, 'which has safeguarded our peace and freedom for decades,
can rely on our support.' The government is also prepared to increase Germany's
involvement in UN peace-keeping measures.
Global assistance. Germany's assistance for the nations
of central and eastern Europe and of the former Soviet Union is in itself an indication
of her willingness to involve herself both bilaterally and in the multilateral
framework. Since 1989 she has provided DM 37.5 billion for the reform process
in central and eastern Europe. The amount made available for Russia and the other
successor states of the Soviet Union in the same period is DM 87.55 billion -
more than the assistance provided by all western countries together. In addition,
Germany contributes, for instance, 28% towards the European Community's aid effort
for Yugoslavia, and she has taken in nearly half of all the refugees from the
war zones in that country.
Compared with the other west European countries, the proportion
of asylum-seekers who came to Germany last year was more than 70%. In 1992 some
eight billion marks had to be spent on accommodation and care alone. In spite
of drastic cuts in public spending, Germany will maintain her present level of
development assistance for developing countries. She is the third largest contributor
to the United Nations, a fact which underscores the Government's determination
to continue her policy of helping to promote stability and safeguard peace in
the bilateral and multilateral framework.
Germany's contribution to stability in central and eastern
Europe, and in the newly independent states, is not confined to financial assistance.
Great efforts are also being made to further the process of democratization and
free-market reform. The financial input has been augmented by the provision of
large numbers of experts and the offer of training courses. And in providing assistance
for developing countries, too, the government is aiming not only to improve the
economic but also the social and political conditions of the local popultions.
Protection for human rights is one of the government's chief criteria when it
comes to disbursing development assistance.