Unification Agreement

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Basic data
Title: Treaty between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic on the establishment of German unity
Short title: Unification Agreement
Abbreviation: EinigVtr, EinigungsV, EVertr, EV, EiV, EinV
Type: state contract
Scope: Federal Republic of Germany
Legal matter: international law
References : 105-3
Issued on: Contract: August 31, 1990
( Federal Law Gazette II p. 885, 889 )
G to the contract: September 23, 1990 (p. 885)
Entry into force on: September 29, 1990
(Art. 10 G of September 23, 1990; announcement of September 29, 1990, Journal of the GDR I p. 1988)
Last change by: Art. 1 G of January 21, 2013 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 91 )
Effective date of the
last change:
predominantly January 29, 2013
(Art. 7 G of January 21, 2013)
partly January 1, 2014 and January 1, 2015
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.
Both copies of the Unification Treaty united in the archives of the Foreign Office in Berlin
Memorial plaque at the Kronprinzenpalais , Unter den Linden 3, Berlin-Mitte

The Unification Treaty is the treaty dated August 31, 1990 between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic on the dissolution of the GDR, its accession to the Federal Republic of Germany and German unity .

In 1990 the treaty was negotiated between the two German states (→  German division ). The negotiator and signatory on the part of the Federal Republic was the then Federal Minister of the Interior, Wolfgang Schäuble, and on the part of the German Democratic Republic, the Parliamentary State Secretary Günther Krause . It was accepted by the People's Chamber of the GDR on September 20, 1990 (299 votes in favor, 80 votes against, 1 abstention). On the same day, the Bundestag approved the treaty (440 votes in favor, 47 against, 3 abstentions).

History of origin

On May 18, 1990, the 1st State Treaty ( Monetary, Economic and Social Union ) was signed. After the economic and social unity was established in this way, however, the political / state unity was missing . It was clear that the GDR should take the first step in the form of a declaration of membership. Subsequently, the Federal Republic would no longer have the opportunity to decide whether the GDR would join the Federal Republic at all, but only how . The Basic Law offered two options for the Federal Republic of Germany :

The decision was made on Article 23 of the Basic Law and on the preliminary planning of a state treaty. The advantage was based on the fact that a legislative act on a state treaty could deal with many problems of reunification, thus opening up the possibility of a rapid establishment of the rule of law .


The German-German Unification Treaty regulated the validity of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany with effect from October 3, 1990 ( Day of German Unity ) in the territory of the German Democratic Republic. At the same time, the GDR dissolved and was divided into five countries . In addition, the previous state of Berlin (West) , which was limited to the western part of the city, merged with the eastern part of the city; the newly formed federal state of Berlin thus largely corresponds to the city of Berlin in accordance with the Greater Berlin Act of 1920.

It includes the following points:

The prerequisite for the unification treaty to come into force under international law was the conclusion of the treaty on the final regulation with regard to Germany , in short the two-plus-four treaty , in which the four powers waived their right of reservation . Both contracting parties therefore agreed that the stipulations for the establishment of the unity of Germany, without prejudice to the allied rights and responsibilities with regard to Berlin and Germany as a whole at the time of signing, as well as the outstanding results of the discussions on the external aspects of the establishment of the German Unit were hit.

“The Unification Treaty is at the same time a constitutional treaty [...]; because Art. 3 introduced the entire (partially amended) Basic Law for the acceding part as a constitution. The old constitutional law of the GDR was abolished and replaced by the Basic Law as a constitution, with all the consequences of such a constitutional adoption. "

- Klaus Stern : The historical foundations of German constitutional law. The constitutional development from the Old German Reich to the reunified Federal Republic of Germany , p. 1977

The coming into force of legal norms from the Federal Republic in the accession area was regulated in Annex I to the Unification Treaty . With a few exceptions, these came into force immediately upon accession in the area of ​​the former GDR. Previous GDR law ceased to apply at the same time (e.g. the civil code and the family code of the GDR ). Exceptions to this were individual provisions that continued to apply as state law in the new federal states due to Annex II to the Unification Treaty , for example in funeral law . The Joint Declaration of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic on the settlement of outstanding property issues of June 15, 1990 was included as Annex III to the Unification Treaty. In addition, the contracting parties agreed on the agreement on the implementation and interpretation of the Unification Treaty . This agreement contains, in particular, key points that later had to be taken into account when the Stasi Records Act was created.

In the meantime, such still applicable provisions have also been largely overridden by new state legislation .

Realization of the reunification

The Basic Law offered two different possible ways of establishing German unity: The old version of Article 23 provided that further parts of Germany could join the federal territory while the Basic Law continued to apply, as had happened with the Saarland in 1957 , while Article 146 the joint resolution a new constitution made possible.

The Unification Treaty realizes the possibility under Article 23 of the old version , provides for the accession of "the German Democratic Republic to the Federal Republic of Germany in accordance with Article 23 of the Basic Law on October 3, 1990" and stipulates that from this point in time the states of the GDR will become states of the Federal Republic of Germany ( Art. 1 EV). At the same time, the Basic Law came into force for them ( Art. 3 EV). It is obvious that the new federal states did not join the scope of the Basic Law, as they were just being established and had not yet had any elected representative bodies (which were only elected on October 14, 1990). The People's Chamber voted on membership. The GDR should therefore join as "another part of Germany" - it was not in doubt that the GDR was such a part after the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court . The new states on the territory of the former GDR were founded at the same time as accession.

Due to accession, Art. 4 EV changes the Basic Law, namely in particular:

  1. The revised preamble refers to the reunification that has now taken place instead of the previous reunification requirement : "The Germans in the states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia have completed the unity and freedom of Germany in free self-determination. This basic law applies to the entire German people. "
  2. The then Art. 23 GG is repealed after there are no more German areas that could join the scope of the Basic Law.
  3. Art. 146 GG, which previously referred to the expected reunification and to the fact that the Basic Law ceases to apply if a new constitution is passed, is redrafted: "This Basic Law, which applies to the entire German people after completion of the unity and freedom of Germany, loses its validity on the day on which a constitution comes into force that has been freely decided by the German people. "

Finally, Art. 5 of the Unification Treaty recommends "the legislative bodies of the unified Germany to deal within two years with the questions raised in connection with the German unification regarding amendments or additions to the Basic Law".

Other articles deal with questions of international law and the continued application of GDR law, regulate the transfer of assets, etc.

Ratification in the Volkskammer, Bundestag and Bundesrat

On September 20, 1990, the People's Chamber and the German Bundestag voted on the respective transformation law. In the People's Chamber, 299 members voted in favor of the treaty, 80 members from the ranks of the PDS and the Bündnis 90 / Greens parliamentary group voted against it, and one member abstained.

In the Bundestag there were 440 MPs who voted in favor of the Unification Treaty, while 47 no votes came from the ranks of the Greens and the CDU / CSU parliamentary group (13 of them against from the Union ), three MPs abstained. On September 21, 1990, the Federal Council unanimously approved the law.

Changes after the entry into force

The Unification Treaty was amended several times after it came into force - most recently in 2016 - due to circumstances only by the Bundestag and Bundesrat, which are now the only organs of legislation at federal level. Apart from a correction regarding certified copies, this only affects the deletion of sections that are no longer used.

See also


  1. The official version of the Unification Treaty ( Federal Law Gazette 1990 II p. 889) does not introduce any of the abbreviations given; EinigVtr uses Juris , EinigungsV (also: amtl. Für Einigungsstelleverordnung of May 17, 1988, BayRS 7032–2 – W), EVertr beck-online.de, EV buzer.de.
  2. Art. 45 para. 2 EV expressly stipulates that the Unification Agreement will continue to apply as federal law of the Federal Republic of Germany after accession has taken effect. The unification treaty exists “as a state treaty between the federal government on the one hand and the new federal states and the state of Berlin on the other” (see Andreas Zimmermann , State successors in international agreements , Springer, Berlin 2000, p. 297 f. With further references) or internally as a constitutional contract between the Federal Republic and the fictitious GDR and as a federal law (see Heiko Wagner, The Unification Treaty after Accession: Continued Validity, Existence and Legal Protection before the Federal Constitutional Court (= Publications on Public Law; Vol. 657), Duncker and Humblot , Berlin 1994, pp. 109 , 296 ).
  3. 33 MPs from the Greens, 13 MPs from the CDU / CSU and the non-attached Wüppesahl voted no . Werner (Ulm) CDU, Adler SPD and Garbe Greens abstained . All members of the FDP, three members of the Greens, Unruh and the other members of the Union parties and the SPD voted yes . German Bundestag, plenary minutes 11/226 of September 20, 1990, pp. 17896–19898 (PDF). The German Federal Council unanimously approved the Unification Treaty on September 21, cf. Bundesrat, Sten. Ber., 11th WP, 619th session, p. 506. See Horst Möller / Ilse Dorothee Pautsch / Gregor Schöllgen / Hermann Wentker / Andreas Wirsching (eds.): Die Einheit. The Foreign Office, the GDR Foreign Ministry and the two-plus-four process , Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2015, Doc. 148, p. 685 ff.
  4. Michael Walter, Negotiations for German Unity: Inner Process , in: Werner Weidenfeld / Karl-Rudolf Korte (ed.): Handbook for German Unity. 1949–1989–1999 , Frankfurt am Main / New York 1999.
  5. II. Declaration of minutes on the contract
  6. Klaus Stern, The constitutional law of the Federal Republic of Germany , Vol. V: The historical foundations of German constitutional law. The constitutional development from the Old German Empire to the reunified Federal Republic of Germany , CH Beck, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-406-07021-3 , p. 1977.
  7. ^ From September 18, 1990 (Federal Law Gazette II p. 1239)
  8. This prevented the GDR from experiencing October 7th and thus its 41st anniversary.
  9. BVerfGE 36.1 (29). - The question, which was discussed on various occasions in the months before accession, as to whether the GDR states (or even sub-regional authorities) had the right to join was settled; on this, for example, Wolfgang Binne, Constitutional considerations on “joining” the GDR according to Art. 23 GG , in: JuS 1990, p. 446 (449); Peter Lerche , The Accession of the GDR - Requirements, Realization, Effect , in: Josef Isensee / Paul Kirchhof (Ed.): Handbuch des Staatsrechts der Bundes Republik Deutschland , Vol. VIII, § 194, S. 403 ff., Rn 45, 47 .
  10. ^ "With the accession of the GDR, the substance of the reunification goal [...] has been achieved. By changing the preamble and Art. 146 GG old version as well as repealing Art. 23 GG old version, the reunification goal has been met overall. There are no further areas that could join under the current constitutional law of the Federal Republic of Germany or under international law (...). There is no longer any legal basis for the inclusion of other areas of the German Reich within the borders of December 31, 1937 , to which Art. 23 sentence 2 GG old version (...) The Federal Republic of Germany has become identical to the existing German Reich in the area defined by its constitution and international law [... and] thus entered into the legal and obligations of the German Reich in full. ”(Klaus Stern, Das Staatsrecht der Bundes Republik Germany - Volume V , p. 1964 f. ( Memento from January 25, 2016 in the Internet Archive ))
  11. Two parliaments say yes to the Unification Treaty. German Bundestag , September 20, 1990, accessed on October 6, 2018 (text archive of the German Bundestag).
  12. buzer.de: Changes to the Unification Agreement


Web links

Commons : Unification Treaty  - collection of images, videos and audio files