The European Parliament on 1 July hosted a memorial service to Helmut Kohl, the German Chancellor who oversaw the reunification of Germany and of East and Western Europe.
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Leaders from across Europe as well as the United States and Russia paid tribute to Kohl as a driving force behind European integration and the establishment of a new world order following the fall of the Berlin Wall.
“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,” said Commission President Juncker. Without Kohl “Europe would not have the euro,” he added.
"On top of that, he was able to develop relations with Israel with intelligence and passion. He was a great friend of Israel. He also directed his attention wisely towards relations with the former Soviet Union and present-day Russia. The historian and Chancellor knew about the breadth and depth of Russia. But at the same time he was a committed and active supporter of transatlantic relations. Following in the footsteps of Helmut Schmidt, he implemented the NATO twin-track decision, against the spirit of the times."
Former US President Clinton said: "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."
"He was the architect of the world order," Russian Prime Minister Medvedev said of Kohl. The former Chancellor worked with Mikhail Gorbachev to gain Soviet acquiescence for the reunification of Germany, as well as Germany's membership of NATO.
European Council President Tusk praised Kohl's "extraordinary perseverance" in bringing about reconciliation as well as working "to define a common Europe". European leaders today, he suggested, would continue his work. "[T]he question about the future of a united Europe must be given a resounding answer: yes. Yes to the Union, yes to freedom, yes to human rights."