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Berlin's Mayor says the city is not yet fully integrated

Almost 15 years after the fall of the wall, the German capital still shows differences between its East and West areas, told Klaus Wowereit to PRAVDA.Ru in Buenos Aires. However, according to the Mayor, a lot has been done to narrow gaps.

“Berlin is the place where the East and the West have united in Germany”, told the mayor of the German Capital, Klaus Wowereit to PRAVDA.Ru in Buenos Aires this week, but admitted that even when a lot has been done, the full integration still has a long way to go.

Klaus Wowereit was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last week to attend to a series of cultural events aimed to strengthen ties between both capitals. During his staying in the “Paris of Latin America”, Wowereit talked to PRAVDA.Ru about the challenges Berlin still faces when is up to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the wall’s fall, on November 9.

Wowereit, the prominent member of the social democrat party that rules the city since 2001, believes Berlin reflects the existing divisions between Eastern and Western Germany that erupted in last month regional elections. 

“Each part of Berlin has its past and I would be wrong if I say that the integration process is finished”, he admitted. “We have advanced a lot, but I cannot hide that there is an old discussion that has came up to the surface again, and it is related with problems in our labour policies and the intensity of our social programs”.

However, according to Wowereit's view, the existence of a unique Parliament and unified institutions are great assets built with effort since 1989. “That's the main reason why Berlin worked as a space of integration between the East and the West”.

According to Wowereit, the conflicts between the Eastern and the Western population of Germany are a matter of feelings. “The people in the East feel they did not get enough support from the Federal institutions, while in the West, the people believe they have helped enough”, he says.

As part of his activities in Buenos Aires, Wowereit visited with his counterpart, Anibal Ibarra, notorious concentration camps that were built by the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina between 1976 and 1983. Places like the School of Naval Mechanics, where no less than 5,000 Argentineans were killed in those years, are being now converted into memorials and museums.

Berlin's Major took good note of the initiative. “Both capitals suffered in the past from dictatorships and totalitarian regimes”, he remarked. “It is very important for us to keep memories alive as a warning for our future”, he added.

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