Wednesday, 23 August, 2017

Helmut Kohl, Germany's reunification chancellor, dies aged 87

Helmut Kohl Kohl, a pioneer of the united European vision
Howard Terry | 20 June, 2017, 00:32

The health of the former German chancellor was delicate since in 2008 he suffered a fall that caused a traumatism, which confined him in a wheelchair and made him hard to speak.

Bild reported in its online edition that Kohl died in the morning at his home in Ludwigshafen, in western Germany.

George W Bush Snr the former president of the United States of America once said about him the most important European leader of the 20 century.

For foreigners, the bulky conservative with a fondness for heavy local food and white wine came to symbolise a benign, steady - even tiresome - Germany.

Once viewed as a provincial bumbler, Kohl combined an understanding of the worries of ordinary Germans with a hunger for power, getting elected four times.

Kohl's legacy includes the euro - now used by 19 nations. Leader of Opposition in the Bundestag through most of the 1970s, he was elected Chancellor in 1982 as the CDU returned to power.

Present leaders of the world have expressed their condolences on the death of Germany's revolutionary leader, who led his country for 16 long years.

"Voters do not like Kohl, but they trust him", was an often repeated line.

Kohl has also received an array of awards for his political achievements. He ate pasta with Clinton and took saunas with Russia's Boris Yeltsin.

Juncker described Kohl as the "very essence of Europe".

He was born in the year 1930 to Catholic parents and he joined the Hitler Youth in the year 1940 just at the age of ten.

On Saturday, the daily Tageszeitung's headline was "Blooming Landscapes", an allusion to Kohl's promise of an economically flourishing eastern Germany, over a picture of wreaths. His oldest brother, Walter, was killed in action a few months earlier. He also drew criticism for failing to embark on economic reforms.

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