Institutional change of the agricultural administration and rural associations in East Germany before and after unification
[Institutioneller Wandel der Agrarverwaltung und ländlicher Verbände in Ostdeutschland vor und nach der Vereinigung]
With the collapse of the socialist regime in East Germany in late 1989 and the rising political call for unification in early 1990, a radical and abrupt change of the institutional structure became necessary. Among others, the (agricultural) administration had to be totally restructured. This referred not only to substance, functions and tasks which had to be adjusted, similar to most other transition economies, to the market-economic and pluralistic democratic system, but also the whole administrative set-up had to be re-established in line with the West German system (territorial re-organisation). Hence, a new administrative system had to be built up in the East, while simultaneously the socialist one had to be dismantled. This transformation process implied the recruitment of new staff and had to be carried out in a very short period. However, different to the other transition economies, there had been strong support from the West in re-organising the administration. Overall, this institutional change seems to have been accomplished successfully as billions of Deutsch Mark could be processed by the agricultural administration in 1990 in order to avoid an imminent collapse of the agricultural sector. In addition, the new administration also comprised the set-up of a specialised agency in charge of state property. This office while originally anticipated to last for a short period only, still operates today. Similarly, the organisations representing the agricultural population had to be re-organised. The re-organisation of the German Farmers' Union is of special prominence as both German parts were representing completely different agricultural models. Nevertheless, this is the only important organisation at national level where East Germans could stay in decision-making positions after unification. This had severe repercussions when shaping transformation policies affecting the agricultural sector in East Germany during the 1990s.
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