Former Chancellor Helmut Kohl has died at the age of 87. As Germany’s leader for 16 years, he is remembered for reuniting the country and for making a huge political and economic contribution to Europe’s integration.
Kohl died at his Oggersheim home near Ludwigshafen, south of Frankfurt on the Rhine River, early Friday, dw.de reports.
President Iohannis conveys condolences
President Klaus Iohannis has sent a message of condolences to the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier after the death of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
“In these sad moments, I would like to convey, in the name of the Romanian people and myself personally, the most sincere condolences to the mournful family and its relatives, as well as to the entire German people. Helmut Kohl was a great state man and European leader, inspired by how he managed the challenges of the Cold War and the fall of communist regimes in Eastern Europe. He was the architect of German unity and had a defining contribution to the construction of European unity,” the message reads.
President Klaus Iohannis also underlined that Helmut Kohl was a close friend of Romania, contributing to what we can today call the success story of the Romanian-German relationship.
World leaders pay tribute
On hearing the news in Rome, Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Roman Catholic Kohl realized that he had a “historic chance” to overcome Germany’s decades-long division and seized it.
Helmut Josef Michael Kohl was born in Ludwigshafen on April 3, 1930. He was only 17 when he joined the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and was active in the party during his studies in history, law and governance and public policy.
World leaders are paying tribute to former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who has died at the age of 87. The EU’s Jean-Claude Juncker said flags would fly at half-staff in Brussels to honour a “great European.”
Former US President George H. W. Bush, who cooperated with Kohl and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to reunite East and West Germany at the end of the Cold War, also mourned Kohl’s death.
Bush described Kohl as “a true friend of freedom,” saying the considered him “one of the greatest leaders in post-war Europe.”
Gorbachev, the last leader of the USSR, said Kohl was an “outstanding person” whose impact on world history would stand the test of time.
According to Gorbachev, the former German chancellor “would be noted in the chronicles of our time not only because of his personal qualities, but also because he found himself at the helm of his country during a time of unprecedented turmoil” including the fall of the Berlin Wall.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also praised Kohl as a “great statesman,” and lauded his legacy of helping Europe grow closer. “A great German has died,” Gabriel said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was on a diplomatic visit to Rome when the death of Kohl, a Roman Catholic, was made public. She described her mentor as a “stroke of luck” for Germany. “Helmut Kohl decisively influenced the course of my life, too,” she said in Italy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin send his condolences to Merkel and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, mourning the passing of “one of the patriarchs of European and global politics.”
“I was fortunate to personally meet Helmut Kohl. I was honestly amazed by his wisdom, his ability to take thought-out, far-sighted decisions even in the most complex of situations. In Russia, he will be remembered as a principled advocate of friendly relations between our countries,” Putin said.
French President Emmanuel Macron posted a German language tweet praising Kohl for paving the road to “united Germany and German-French friendship,” showing a renowned image of Kohl standing side-by-side with the late French President Francois Mitterrand.