Merkel grateful as Germany celebrates unification

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has voiced her gratitude at what the country has achieved since its reunification 27 years ago, and says its experience should give it the "strength" to deal with problems that may arise.

Germany's leaders gathered Tuesday in the southwestern city of Mainz to celebrate the anniversary, which has been overshadowed by a strong showing by the nationalist Alternative for Germany party in last month's general election.

The party did particularly well in eastern Germany where Merkel hails from. Some 55 percent of easterners said in a recent poll, they don't feel the two parts of Germany have grown together, while only 45 percent in the west thought so.

Germany was divided into a capitalist west and communist east after World War II.