Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

European Ceremony Honours Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl

During his 16-year term as Germany's leader from 1982 to 1998 Kohl spearheaded his country's reunification in 1990 During his 16-year term as Germany's leader from 1982 to 1998 Kohl spearheaded his country's reunification in 1990
Melinda Barton | 02 July, 2017, 00:47

Following the late German leader's death, Netanyahu praised Kohl's "commitment to Israel's security" during his tenure as chancellor, and expressed appreciation for his "empathy" for the Jewish state.

The speeches and a short film to be played to the chamber will focus on Kohl's role in German unification after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and on his close cooperation with France's Francois Mitterrand in shaping the European Union.

Speakers at the ceremony will include Parliament President Antonio Tajani, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk, former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González, former US President Bill Clinton, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The former chancellor lead Germany from 1982 to 1998, and was widely seen as having overcome the fears of the country's neighbours, putting an end to the division between East and West and allowing Germany to be rebuilt as a nation by assuring Europe his country would no longer aspire to dominate others.

"Helmut Kohl gave us the chance to be involved in something bigger than ourselves", former U.S. President Bill Clinton said, citing Kohl's willingness to put global cooperation before national interests.

Mr Clinton also cited Mr Kohl's willingness to put global co-operation before national interests.

Following the ceremony at the Parliament, the remains of Mr Kohl will be taken to Germany for a funeral mass at the Speyer cathedral, the source said.

Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian Prime Minister, described Mr Kohl as the "the architect of the world order", adding: "In Russia, we'll remember him as our friend - a wise and honest person".

'I find the latest developments not worthy of my father, nor of Germany and Europe, ' said Walter, 53, who with his brother Peter are from Kohl's first marriage.

However Germany will not hold a state funeral for Mr Kohl in Germany at the request of his widow Maike Kohl-Richter, his second wife.

Netanyahu shook hands briefly with several world leaders and prominent figures, including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and former U.S. president Bill Clinton.

His body was taken from his birthplace in Ludwigshafen, Germany, early in the morning and taken to Strasbourg.

That decision has been criticised by Mr Kohl's son by his first wife, Walter Kohl, who wanted a farewell ceremony near the Brandenburg Gate in the German capital Berlin, near the site of the former Berlin Wall.

She also offered personal thanks for the opportunities that Mr Kohl - her political mentor whom she later denounced over a funding scandal - had given her in her career.