A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[BRIEF NOTE] The end of Saxony-Anhalt?

The most recent issue of The Economist has an interesting article on Jens Bullerjahn, a SPD politician in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt who wants to wind up the existence of his young state. In the context of pervasive economic decline and a depopulation that’s going to reduce the state’s population by a third over its 1990 levels of 2.9 million, Bullerjahn thinks that the only thing left to do is to merge Saxony-Anhalt with the neighbouring states of Saxony and Thuringia, thus forming a new state of Middle Germany.

Merging federal units as a response to decline has been raised as a solution before in the former German Democratic Republic, in relation to Berlin and Brandenburg in the 1990s. I’ve heard talk of this at home in relation to the whole concept of Maritime union, the merger of the three Maritime provinces of Canada–New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and my native Prince Edward Island–into a single province. It hasn’t worked so far as such; the Charlottetown Conference of 1864 came closest to realization, but that because a conference on Maritime union segued, to everyone’s surprise, into a general discussion on the unification of what was then British North America. The general consensus is that everyone’s regional identities are too strong, and the net benefits too sparse, for Maritime union ever to work. Do the same factors apply in East Germany? We’ll see. It’s worth noting that eastern Germany is in rather worse shape relative to the rest of Germany than the Maritimes are to Canada. Will necessity require union in the German case?

Written by Randy McDonald

March 28, 2006 at 2:57 pm

Posted in Assorted

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