Former East German city now thriving

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MAGDEBURG, Germany: Magdeburg was once the go-to city for tales of former communist East Germany’s woes, a bastion of joblessness, neo-Nazis and despair that belied the joyful hopes of the country’s 1990 reunification.

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Fast-forward to 2013 amid a campaign for September 22 elections and a robust economic upswing under Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in the east, and the picture looks very different.

Magdeburg, a 1,200-year-old city founded by Charlemagne, has made a remarkable comeback underlining a raft of eastern success stories.

Business magazine Wirtschaftswoche named Magdeburg the most dynamic city in Germany, Europe’s top economy, last November, citing heavy investment in infrastructure and education.

Its development points to a recovery of the east that goes deeper than standouts such as Dresden and Leipzig, bolstering a sense of optimism that has given Merkel a strong lead in the polls.

“If you look at the raw numbers, then we’re not nearly as well-placed as big [western]cities like Duesseldorf or Munich that have been going strong for 40 or 50 years,” Mayor Lutz Truemper told Agence France-Presse.

AFP

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