En­voys pay trib­ute to Ger­many’s Kohl

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

SPEYER, Ger­many — Ger­many bid farewell Satur­day to Hel­mut Kohl, the for­mer chan­cel­lor who steered his coun­try to­ward re­uni­fi­ca­tion in 1990 and whose tire­less ef­forts to en­sure peace and sta­bil­ity in Europe shape the con­ti­nent to this day.

Hun­dreds of dig­ni­taries at­tended a re­quiem Mass at Speyer Cathe­dral in Kohl’s home re­gion of Rhineland-Palati­nate in south­west Ger­many.

Ear­lier in the day, past and present lead­ers from around the world paid trib­ute to Kohl at the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment’s seat in the French city of Stras­bourg.

Kohl, who died June 16 at the age of 87, is the first per­son to be honored with an of­fi­cial me­mo­rial event by the Euro­pean Union.

EU Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Juncker said the cer­e­mony in Stras­bourg, close to the border with Ger­many, was Kohl’s choice.

“Hel­mut Kohl was a Ger­man pa­triot but at the same time a Euro­pean pa­triot,” said Juncker, re­call­ing how Kohl had wept tears of joy when the bloc agreed in De­cem­ber 1997 to be­gin ac­cept­ing mem­bers from the for­merly Com­mu­nist coun­tries in Eastern Europe.

Kohl spear­headed the cre­ation of the euro cur­rency, which is now used by 19 na­tions.

AP/ARNE DEDERT

Sol­diers carry the cof­fin of for­mer Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Hel­mut Kohl af­ter Satur­day’s re­quiem Mass in Speyer Cathe­dral in Ger­many.

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