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The federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern lies to the north-east of the Federal Republic of Germany and borders on Poland in the east, on Brandenburg in the south and on Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein in the west. In the north, the Baltic Sea forms a natural border along a length of almost 400 kilometres. The state capital and therefore the seat of government, administration and the state parliament is Schwerin.
Church in Malchow. (Image: Jörn Lehmann)
"Best of Northern Germany" is not Mecklenburg-Vorpommern‘s brand promise for nothing: the rich cultural inheritance, the unique nature and the varied cultural and leisure activities make the region especially attractive. In addition, MV is also an attractive industry and science centre. The region has two universities which both enjoy a long tradition in Rostock and Greifswald and also five modern universities. In addition to traditional branches of industry like agriculture and the food industry or tourism, the sectors of the future are increasingly establishing themselves in MV. Above all in the fields of bio- and medical technology, information and communication technology and renewable energies there is a climate of innovation and a willingness to found companies. MV also aspires to become the number one health region in the Federal Republic.
The surface area of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is over 23,000 square kilometres. Around 1.6 million people live here. Around a fifth of them belong to one of the Christian churches. Mecklenburg’s Catholics are affiliated to the archdiocese of Hamburg; the Catholics in Vorpommern, on the other hand, are affiliated to the archdiocese of Berlin.
The Jewish religious communities have been experiencing growth in numbers since the 1990s. In September 2004, a synagogue for up to 200 visitors was consecrated in Rostock. Today, there are some 700 congregants in Rostock– that is twice as many as in 1933. Some 900 Jews live in Schwerin. A new synagogue here on the original site on the Schlachtermarkt was consecrated in December 2008 – 70 years after the old one was destroyed– a new synagogue on the original location in am Schlachtermarkt.
There are currently four mosques in the larger cities– Schwerin, Rostock, Wismar and Greifswald. There are Islamic cultural centres in Schwerin, Neubrandenburg and Greifswald.
The State Chancellery in Schwerin. (Image: Jörn Lehmann)
Since 1994, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has had a state constitution. It regulates the form of government, basic rights and national objectives as well as state organisation and functions. In the preamble, the citizens of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern recognise their responsibility towards German history and towards future generations. The recognition that creating a socially just community is also to be found here as well as a commitment to promoting economic progress for all. Apart from the basic rights set out in the state constitution, the basic rights of the German Constitution are also incorporated – that means that the basic rights of the German constitution apply directly as state constitutional law in the federal states.
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is governed by a coalition consisting of the SPD and the CDU. It was formed as a result of the election for the state parliament on 4th September 2011. The state’s premier is Erwin Sellering (SPD). The state premier is elected by the state parliament, which in turn receives its mandate from the citizens following democratic elections. The seat of the state parliament is in Schwerin Castle. In accordance with Article 20 of the state constitution, it understands itself to be a place of political decision-making.
The state parliament also fulfils two further tasks: it deliberates on and enacts laws which are proposed by the government, at least four members of the state parliament or via petition directly from the people– that means that it has legislative powers. A third important task of the state parliament consists in monitoring the state government. For this purpose it has extensive powers to ask questions and request information.
Premier Erwin Sellering (SPD).
Allocation of seats in MV’s state parliament.
If problems cannot be solved amicably and attempts at arbitration fail, the assistance of the courts often remains the last resort. There are five jurisdictions for different fields of activity: the ordinary courts, the administrative courts, the financial courts, the labour courts and the social courts. In addition, the state constitutional court is located in MV which is a constitutional body like the state parliament or the state government. Citizens can turn to it if they see their basic rights impaired by laws, administrative acts or also court rulings.
The State Prosecutor’s Office is an independent judicial authority. Its main task is law enforcement. The organs that administer justice also include lawyers and notaries with their law associations.