Kohl, a pioneer of the united European vision

Violet Powell
June 20, 2017

German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the great impetus for German reunification and convinced Europeanist, has died this morning at the age of 87 at his home in Ludwigshafen, according to the daily "Bild" in its digital edition.

The longest-serving German Chancellor, the colossally-built Kohl led the Federal Republic of Germany (or West Germany) from 1982 to 1990, and then reunited Germany till 1998 after the German Democratic Republic merged with it after fall of its communist government.

An imposing figure who formed an unlikely personal bond with socialist French President Francois Mitterrand in pushing for closer European integration, Kohl, a conservative, had been frail and used a wheelchair since suffering a bad fall in 2008.

Xi said the Chinese people will never forget their old friend for his consistent commitment to promoting China-Germany and China-Europe dialogues and cooperation, his positive contributions to the development of China-Germany relations, as well as his understanding and support for the Chinese people to realize complete national reunification.

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"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. The former Luxembourg prime minister added that Kohl pushed for "us Europeans to get to know each other better and work more closely together".

George W Bush Snr the former president of the United States of America once said about him the most important European leader of the 20 century.

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

In a poignant gesture of reconciliation in 1984, Kohl held hands with Mitterrand during a ceremony at a World War I cemetery in Verdun, France. "My mentor, my friend, the very essence of Europe, he will be greatly, greatly missed", he said.

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