German Ex-Chancellor Kohl Dies at 87

German Ex-Chancellor Kohl Dies at 87German Ex-Chancellor Kohl Dies at 87

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

Kohl led Germany for 16 years (from 1982 to 1998). He is credited with bringing East and West Germany together after the fall of the Berlin Wall, BBC reported.

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.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Kohl’s former protegee who later called for his resignation over a political funding scandal, said his death filled her with deep sadness.

“Helmut Kohl’s efforts brought about the two greatest achievements in German politics of recent decades-German reunification and European unity,” she said.

“Helmut Kohl understood that the two things were inseparable.”

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

Former US president, George HW Bush, paid tribute to the man he knew while in office from 1989 to 1993 as a “true friend of freedom” and “one of the greatest leaders in postwar Europe”.

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

Chancellor Merkel first entered government under Kohl’s rule in 1991.

But she publicly denounced him and called for his resignation when it was revealed the party had received millions of dollars worth of illegal donations using secret bank accounts.

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

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


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