AJC: German Chancellor Kohl 'Always a Champion of European Unity'
AJC: German Chancellor Kohl 'Always a Champion of European Unity'
Helmut Kohl with Margaret Thatcher in London in 1983NILS JORGENSEN REX SHUTTERSTOCK
19 Giugno, 2017, 06:42
Putin said his first contact with Kohl, who died Friday at age 87, was when he worked for St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak in the early 1990s and Kohl invited Sobchak to visit his residence in the German city of Bonn. Kohl led #Germany through reunification in 1990.
"Helmut Kohl filled the European house with life - not only because he built bridges to the west as well as to the east, but also because he never ceased to design even better blueprints for the future of Europe", Juncker said. Leader of Opposition in the Bundestag through most of the 1970s, he was elected Chancellor in 1982 as the CDU returned to power.
Kohl left active politics in 2002.
At home, he is celebrated above all as the father of German reunification, which he achieved after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall despite resistance from partners such as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
"Working closely with my very good friend to help achieve a peaceful end to the Cold War and the unification of Germany within North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will remain one of the great joys of my life", he added in a statement.
Angela Merkel said her former mentor was "the right man at the right time", who seized a "historic chance" to overcome the divide running through Europe.
"In his lifetime, Helmut Kohl was honoured with honorary citizenship in Europe to celebrate his extraordinary merits", Mr Juncker told the German newspaper Bild.
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