Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday in a video speech to mark the anniversary of Germany's reunification 22 years ago that she wanted more financial support for weaker German regions over the next decade, dpa reported.
She said that development funding had so far mainly targeted eastern German states but should now instead be channelled to weak regions across all of Germany. That change should take effect sometime "in the next decade," she said.
"Standards of living won't automatically balance out," she noted.
The German government has spent billions of euros to develop eastern states that were under a communist dictatorship in the former German Democratic Republic. But unemployment remains higher there than in the rest of Germany.
Rich southern German states like Bavaria have challenged a system that forces them to pay billions of euros each year to poorer states. But Merkel noted that countries that were never under communist dictatorship - including the German states that made up the former West Germany - could learn a lot from Central and Eastern European countries that had survived the experience.
"People there are open to change. They started doing a lot of new things once they were able to live in free circumstances." She also celebrated the fact that Germany remains unified after so many years of separation.
"Everytime I go through the Brandenburg Gate, I relive the sense how it was once absolutely inconceivable for a person to even think about walking freely through it."