Thursday, October 30, 2014

State Unification in Germany?

Every year in the US.....there's at least one or two regional attempts to bring up the idea of splitting one US state into two, or three different states.  It's a marginal attempt, which is mostly designed to get media attention and just generate conversation.  Nothing much ever occurs from these events.

Today, an CDUpolitical player in Germany put out a suggestion of redesigning the sixteen German states into six.  Not splitting, but uniting.

The CDU Saarland Prime Minister tossed her map into the discussion.  Bavaria and Baden-Wurttenberg get to stay mostly as they are.  Hessen is the big loser in this design.....getting the Saarland, Rhineland Pfalz, and Thuringia (one of the old DDR states).  The three states going into Hessen....are the poorest of the sixteen states.

The intent of this idea?  There are different ways to view this.

Sixteen current states require a legislature within each, along with various state-run functions from education and infrastructure, to family and social structure.  A vast amount of the structure would just be carved out and handled by the six new states.

State by state identification for politics?  That's been an odd problem.  Individual state elections are held on the state's own schedule, and have dramatic affect on national politics.  The news media can come out of election in Hessen, and proclaim a national agenda has arrived on the scene....whether true or not.

The bitter fight between the sixteen states for funding from the national level?  It'd carve out half the fight, if there were less talkers on the circuit.

The odds of this occurring?  Zero.  No one in Hessen would buy off on putting this state with the three poorest states.  There's also the problem of Bremen disappearing as a city-state....something that only Hamburg and Berlin have currently.

History has an odd angle to this discussion.  Around 1800....there were 300 states and city-states in the Germanic region.  By the mid-1800s.....it was down to 39 states (having combined a number together).  Various events after WW II and through the 1960s changed the state make-up.  After the wall came down.....several East German states were pushed into the current mix of sixteen.  To be honest, there isn't much history of states ever dividing...they tend to unite....if anything.

Bavarians will even tell you that if given some freedom on this.....they'd just like to emerge as a separate country entirely.  They generally think the taxation deal of Germany is harmful for them, and they never get their contributions back for what they put into the system.

So, when you see this topic come up on German news....just nod your head and expect a three-minute report on the newest political suggestion.  Some political chat show will throw a couple of folks up to give some intellectual argument over the idea.    And then it'll all this drop out of discussion rather quickly.

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