DOCUMENT 7:
Two German Governments
on a Currency Union (May 3, 1990)
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[In 1990] the two German governments responded to the concern of GDR citizens regarding the exchange rate, issuing a declaration on the principles governing the introduction of the West German D-mark to East Germany.

1. The governments of the GDR and the FRG, in full awareness of the joint tasks of the two German states on the path toward German unity, plan to conclude an international treaty for the introduction of monetary, economic, and social union. This treaty is to take effect on 1 July 1990. 

Part of this treaty concerns conversion of the GDR-mark to the D-mark. Both sides have agreed on the essential points of this currency conversion. They were guided in their decision making by the goal of improving living and working conditions of the people. This assumes that:

  • the stability of the D-mark and the solidity of state finances continue to be guaranteed 
  • through the introduction of a social market economy, the economy of the GDR will quickly become competitive and capable of modernization 
2. Salaries, wages, scholarships, rents, leases, and pensions, as well as other recurring welfare payments (such as maintenance benefits), will be converted at a rate of 1:1. Salaries and wages will be based on gross pay as of 1 May 1990. 

3. The pension system of the GDR will be adjusted to the pension system of the FRG. This means that most pensions in D-marks will be higher than the current pensions in GDR-marks. In certain cases in which a lower amount is calculated than the pension up to now in GDR-marks, it is assured that this previous amount will be paid in D-marks. 

4. Hardship cases which arise because of the legal provisions to be laid down in the GDR, particularly people receiving low pensions and college students, will receive compensation... 

5. Other claims and obligations will be converted at a rate of 2:1.

6. Persons with permanent residence in the GDR can convert the following amounts (cash and bank balances) at a rate of 1:1: 

  • Children up to their 15th birthday: 2,000 marks 
  • Persons from 15 years of age until their 60th birthday: 4,000 marks
  • Persons past their 60th birthday; 6,000 marks Amounts exceeding these limits will be converted at a rate of 2:1, subject to the conditions listed under point 9 below…. 
7. Obligations of the GDR toward other countries continue in force. 

Sources: Gransow, Volker and Konrad H. Jarausch, eds. Uniting Germany; Documents and Debates, 1944-1993. Translated by Allison Brown and Belinda Cooper. Rhode Island: Berghahn Books, 1994.

Page updated and maintained by Donna C. Van Handle.   Last modified on April 16, 2003.