German reunification architect Helmut Kohl dies at 87

A file picture dated 03 May 1985 shows (L-R) British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl as well as also US President Ronald Reagan attending an event at the planet Economic summit in Bonn, GermanyImage copyright
EPA

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Despite occasional differences, Mr Kohl forged alliances with UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as well as also US President Ronald Reagan

Helmut Kohl, Germany’s ex-chancellor as well as also architect of reunification in 1990, has died at 87.

Kohl led Germany for 16 years (coming from 1982 to 1998). He is usually credited with bringing East as well as also West Germany together after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Together with his French ally President Francois Mitterrand, he 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.

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Jean-Claude Juncker

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EU flags are being flown at half-mast

“Helmut’s death hurts me deeply,” Mr Juncker said in a tweet. “My mentor, my friend, the very essence of Europe, he will be greatly, greatly missed.”

Former US President George HW Bush paid tribute to the man he knew while in office coming from 1989 to 1993 as a “true friend of freedom” as well as also “one of the greatest leaders in post-war Europe”.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel paid tribute to a “great German statesman as well as also above all a great European”.

Thatcher’s rival

Kohl suffered a bad fall in 2008 as well as also had been using a wheelchair.

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AFP

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A piece of the Berlin Wall was erected in Kohl’s garden in 2011 as a souvenir

He died at his house in Ludwigshafen, within the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Bild newspaper reports.

Kohl, who led the centre-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 favour of the European single currency.

within the UK, he is usually remembered for his differences over the EU with the late UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

In France, he is usually the German leader who held hands with Mitterrand at a service at the Verdun war memorial in 1984 to mark the 70th anniversary of World War One.

although for Germans he is usually above all the man who reunified a country divided by the allied powers after World War Two, promising the people of the ex-communist East “flourishing landscapes”, in unity with the richer West.

Obituary: Helmut Kohl

Helmut Josef Michael Kohl was born on 3 April 1930 into a conservative, Catholic family.

His political outlook was shaped by his experiences in his hometown of Ludwigshafen within the Rhineland during World War Two.

Because of its huge chemical works, the town was heavily bombed as well as also, at the age of 12, the young Helmut found himself helping to recover the charred bodies of his neighbours coming from the rubble. What he once described as “the blessing of a late birth” freed him coming from any taints of Nazism.

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Denounced by Merkel

Kohl fell coming from grace when a funding scandal under his leadership of the Christian Democrats came to light after he left office in 1998.

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AFP

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Angela Merkel (R) has followed in Kohl’s footsteps as a long-serving chancellor

Current Chancellor Angela Merkel was once his protegee, first entering government under his rule in 1991.

although she publicly denounced Kohl as well as also called for his resignation when This kind of was revealed the party had received millions of dollars worth of illegal donations using secret bank accounts.

In 2011, in a series of interviews as well as also statements, he spoke out against Mrs Merkel’s policy of strict austerity to deal with the European debt crisis.

Mrs Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, issued a tweet (in German) saying, “In deep mourning for a great German as well as also a great European.”

Kohl’s later life was also marked by personal tragedy. His wife, Hannelore, killed herself in July 2001 after suffering coming from a rare skin condition as well as also depression.

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