Helmut Kohl, father of German reunification, dies

Frederick Owens
Июня 21, 2017

From a human perspective, I can only say that my meetings with Helmut Kohl have always been marked by mutual respect - both at the time when I was the prime minister of the GDR, and later as we were colleagues in the Bundestag.

But, Kohl gained the support of both the Soviet Union and the USA and by October 1990, West and East were once more a single country for the first time since the end of WWII, and Helmut Kohl was the leader of the Unified Germany. Less than a year after the November 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, he spearheaded the end of Germany's decades-long division into East and West, ushering in a new era in European politics. Germany and France are often at odds, but Kohl had struck a close friendship with French President Francois Mitterrand.

EU Council President Donald Tusk "Helmut's death hurts me deeply".

Later, he was mentor to Germany's current chancellor, Angela Merkel, handing her her first ministerial post in 1991 and referring to her as his "mädchen" or girl. As Germany united during his leadership, Kohl was dubbed the "chancellor of unity" and the driving force behind European integration.

"We are in sorrow", the party tweeted.

"Throughout our endeavours, Helmut was a rock - both steady and strong".

President Donald Trump hailed Kohl as a "friend and ally" of the United States.

Kohl served longer than Konrad Adenauer, West Germany's first post-World War II chancellor and his political idol. But in 1999, when it emerged Kohl had been misusing funds to give his friends kickbacks, Merkel stunned Germany by denouncing him in a front page article for a top conservative newspaper.

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In Brussels, European flags were lowered to half mast in tribute.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel also called Kohl a "true European" while Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel lauded a "great statesman".

Among all the fathers of German reunification, Kohl was the most notable leader.

Yet by the end of his time in office, Kohl had begun to fall out of favor with the German electorate.

He says the world has benefited from his vision and efforts. He ruled the Christian Democratic Union as if it were a personal domain.

Kohl, Germany's ex-chancellor and architect of reunification in 1990, died yesterday aged 87.

He refused to reveal where the money had come from, saying he had given the donors his "Ehrenwort", or word of honour, not to disclose their names.

Germany's longest-serving chancellor since World War II lived long enough to see the European unity he championed see hard times after he left office.

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