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The Federal Republic of Germany is the most populous country in the European Union and has been a major economic and political power since the German regions were first unified in the 19th century; previously, those regions had been part of the Holy Roman Empire, and were the staging area from which Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation. Divided into two states in 1945 after World War II, Germany was reunified in 1990, which slowed its economic growth at a critical juncture, as reabsorbing East Germany—which had become significantly poorer and lagged behind in infrastructure in the intervening 45 years—presented a serious cost to West Germany, one that has been estimated at two trillion euros over the next two decades.

There remains a serious economic and ...

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