In the September 1998 national elections the CDU/CSU and FDP coalition was swept from office by Gerhard Schröder and his SPD, ending 16 years of conservative government under Kohl. In October the SPD formed a coalition with the environmentalist Green Party, which had the third strongest showing in the elections. This Red-Green coalition, as it came to be called, marked the first time that the Green Party had entered Germany’s national government. The new government’s legislative program included measures against unemployment, reforms to ease the process by which immigrants become German citizens, and plans to close nuclear power plants in Germany. In 1999 Germany joined the rest of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in a military campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (see Serbia and Montenegro) over its attacks on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
It was the first time Germany participated in military strikes since the end of World War II. Also in 1999 Johannes Rau, a long-standing member of the SPD, succeeded Roman Herzog as Germany’s president.
At the end of 1999 representatives of German government and industry announced plans to establish a $5.2 billion compensation fund for people who worked as slave laborers and forced laborers in Nazi-era Germany. The announcement came after months of negotiations between German representatives, Jewish groups, and the United States government. More than 1 million people were expected to receive compensation from the fund. "Germany" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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