Concerning the development of the debt level of the New Länder since the German unification
During the 1990s, public indebtedness rose remarkably in all German political subdivisions. This development was particularly strong in the New Länder. At the beginning of the 1990s, they had low indebtedness rates. Today, 20 years later, the debt level of some New Länder lies over the average value of all Federal states. The background of this development is complex and depends also on the individual situation of each state. Generally, the rise of the debt level of the New Länder can be attributed to the 1990s’ estimation of a fast adjustment of the New Länder’s economic and financial power to that of the old Federal states. From today's point of view, this estimation was too optimistic. Furthermore, the New Länder have been affected differently by the transformation-conditioned structural change and the therefore arising difficulties with the necessary adjustment to the market. In Saxony-Anhalt, which is characterised by the highest debt level of the New Länder, the collapse of the basic industry has led to high regional unemployment and to a substantial migration of the population. Still Saxony-Anhalt has countrywide the largest negative migration balance. Regardless of these state-specific characteristics of the transformation process, there is a gradual change in the attitude towards existing debts and their handling, starting around the year 2000. So, the interest in budget consolidation increases constantly. This development was supported by the economic boom of the years 2006 and 2007. At present, the economic crisis puts the consolidation efforts of the states to the test.