Oddly Enough

One in seven Germans want Berlin Wall back?

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BERLIN (Reuters) - One in seven Germans want the Berlin Wall back because they were better off when the country was divided, according to an opinion poll published on Wednesday ahead of the 20th anniversary of its collapse on November 9, 1989.

The survey of 1,002 Germans by the Forsa institute published in Stern magazine said 15 percent of the country’s 82 million long for the days when there were two Germanys. Some 16 percent pining for the Wall were westerners and 10 percent easterners.

The survey found that many westerners are bitter about higher taxes to pay for rebuilding the formerly communist east, where some 1.2 trillion euros ($1,762 billion) worth of state funds has been transferred in the last 20 years.

Eastern Germans are unhappy about income levels that are on average only 80 percent of western levels and that due to higher unemployment depopulation is decimating parts of the east, where the population has declined by about two million since 1990.

The poll found 55 percent of Germans believe unification could be helped if a “solidarity tax” to help fund the costs of rebuilding were abolished while 50 percent believe higher pensions for easterners would help ease east-west tensions.

Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Louise Ireland