Europe pays trib­ute to Kohl, ‘a gi­ant’ of post­war his­tory

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

SPEYER, Germany — Euro­pean lead­ers joined for­mer US pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton on Satur­day to pay trib­ute to for­mer Ger­man chan­cel­lor Hel­mut Kohl, who over­saw the Ger­man re­uni­fi­ca­tion and the end of the Cold War.

Kohl served as chan­cel­lor from 1982 to 1998. He died on June 16 aged 87.

“A gi­ant of the post­war pe­riod has left us,” Euro­pean Com­mis­sion chief JeanClaude Juncker said in an ora­tion in the French city of Strasbourg, where the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment is lo­cated.

It was the first time that the Par­lia­ment has paid trib­ute to a leader in such a man­ner.

“Hel­mut Kohl was not just the ar­chi­tect of Ger­man unity. He contributed sub­stan­tially, more than oth­ers, to the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion be­tween Euro­pean his­tory and Euro­pean ge­og­ra­phy,” Juncker said, adding that with­out Kohl “Europe would not have the euro”.

On Kohl’s watch, the Fed­eral Repub­lic of Germany and the Ger­man Demo­cratic Repub­lic were re­uni­fied in 1990, be­com­ing one of the sta­blest and most pros­per­ous na­tions in the world.

“Hel­mut Kohl gave us the chance to be in­volved in some­thing big­ger than our­selves, big­ger than our terms in of­fice and big­ger than our fleet­ing ca­reers,” Clin­ton said.

Kohl’s suc­ces­sor and one­time pro­tege, An­gela Merkel, strug­gled to rein in her emo­tions as she hailed “the chan­cel­lor of uni­fi­ca­tion”.

“With­out Hel­mut Kohl, the life of millions of peo­ple, mine in­cluded, who lived on the other side of the wall, would not be what it is to­day,” she said.

The cer­e­mony was at­tended by Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s Spe­cial En­voy Wan Gang, who paid trib­ute to Kohl on be­half of the Chi­nese govern­ment and peo­ple.

He also con­veyed his con­do­lences to Euro­pean Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk, Ger­man Pres­i­dent FrankWal­ter Stein­meier and to the fam­ily of Kohl.

Wan, who is also ViceChair­man of the Na­tional Com­mit­tee of the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence and Min­is­ter of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy, said Kohl had made a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to de­vel­op­ment of the Sino-Euro­pean and Sino-Ger­man re­la­tions.

China would al­ways re­mem­ber him as a friend, Wan added.


Ac­ro­bats from China’s Hu­nan prov­ince kick off a se­ries of cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties in Fin­land, Helsinki. The “Ex­pe­ri­ence China in Fin­land 2017” event, which ends on Wed­nes­day, high­lights Chi­nese cul­ture through a se­ries of mul­ti­di­men­sional and di­verse ac­tiv­i­ties.

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