Helmut Kohl Dies Aged 87
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl has died at the age of 87.
He was the architect of Germany’s reunification in 1990.
Helmut Kohl led Germany from 1982 to 1998. He is credited with bringing East and West Germany together after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Together with his French ally President Francois Mitterrand, Helmut Kohl was responsible for the introduction of the euro.
European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has ordered flags at EU institutions to be flown at half-mast.
Jean-Claude Juncker said in a tweet: “Helmut’s death hurts me deeply.
“My mentor, my friend, the very essence of Europe, he will be greatly, greatly missed.”
Former President George H.W. Bush paid tribute to the man he knew while in office from 1989 to 1993 as a “true friend of freedom” and “one of the greatest leaders in post-war Europe”.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel paid tribute to a “great German statesman and above all a great European”.
Helmut Kohl suffered a bad fall in 2008 and had been using a wheelchair.
According to Bild newspaper, Helmut Kohl died at his house in Ludwigshafen, in the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
Helmut Kohl, who led the center-right Christian Democrats, was the longest-serving chancellor of the 20th Century.
A passionate believer in European integration, he persuaded Germans to give up their cherished deutschmark in favor of euro.
Helmut Kohl fell from grace when a funding scandal under his leadership of the Christian Democrats came to light after he left office in 1998.
Current Chancellor Angela Merkel was once Helmut Kohl’s protégée, first entering government under his rule in 1991.
Angela Merkel publicly denounced Helmut Kohl and called for his resignation when it was revealed the party had received millions of dollars worth of illegal donations using secret bank accounts.
In 2011, in a series of interviews and statements, Helmut Kohl spoke out against Angela Merkel’s policy of strict austerity to deal with the European debt crisis.