Although only a short time ago three-quarters of all East Germans surveyed opposed rapid unification with West Germany, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl rides a wave of enthusiasm during a visit to Dresden. He is received at his hotel with cries of »Helmut, Helmut!« and »Germany, united fatherland!« He declares himself »very satisfied« after talks with East German Premier Hans Modrow. At a press conference, the two politicians announce the results of their talks: the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin will be opened before Christmas, and travel will be free for West Germans starting on Christmas Eve. All political prisoners will be released by Christmas. Modrow mentions that a »Treaty on Cooperation and Good Neighborliness« will be drafted, in order to gradually develop a treaty partnership with West Germany. Unlike Oskar Lafontaine, the SPD leader of the Saarland, the Chairman of the German Social Democratic Party, Willy Brandt, expressly welcomes the growing »unity from below.«
Medical care in East Germany is in a precarious state because so many doctors have moved from the East to the West. The East Berlin governing council, the Magistrat, therefore offers young, unemployed West German doctors jobs and specialized training. West Berlin's governing council, the Senat, announces the shipment of 30 tons of medical supplies as part of a program of immediate assistance to the East Berlin health system.
Schleswig-Holstein becomes the first West German state to relax guidelines for travel to East Germany by civil servants. Minister of the Interior Hans Peter Bull explains that people with access to confidential information need only inform their employers in advance of such trips. Even state officials with security clearance at the »secret« and »top secret« levels may now travel to the East. However, such visits continue to be forbidden to employees of the domestic secret service and similarly-placed employees of the criminal investigation division of the police.
© 1999, Christoph Links Verlag, Berlin