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Some opposition members of the Bundestag asked the Federal Constitutional Court to declare the whole proceeding unconstitutional.

The Friday Cover

It denied their claim, but did set restrictions on a similar move in the future. The second Kohl cabinet pushed through several controversial plans, including the stationing of NATO midrange missiles, against major opposition from the peace movement. Together, they commemorated the deaths of both World Wars.

The photograph, which depicted their minutes long handshake became an important symbol of French-German reconciliation. Kohl and Mitterrand developed a close political relationship, forming an important motor for European integration. This French-German cooperation also was vital for important European projects, like the Treaty of Maastricht and the Euro. In , Kohl and U. President Ronald Reagan , as part of a plan to observe the 40th anniversary of V-E Day , saw an opportunity to demonstrate the strength of the friendship that existed between Germany and its former foe.

During a November visit to the White House, Kohl appealed to Reagan to join him in symbolizing the reconciliation of their two countries at a German military cemetery. As Reagan visited Germany as part of the 11th G7 summit in Bonn, the pair visited Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on 5 May and, controversially, the German military cemetery at Bitburg. Kohl's chancellorship presided over a number of innovative policy measures. Extensions in unemployment benefit for older claimants were introduced, while the benefit for the young unemployed was extended to age In , a child-rearing allowance was introduced to benefit parents when at least one was employed.

Informal carers were offered an attendance allowance together with tax incentives, both of which were established with the tax reforms of , and were also guaranteed up to 25 hours a month of professional support, which was supplemented by four weeks of annual holiday relief.

In , an early retirement scheme was introduced that offered incentives to employers to replace elderly workers with applicants off the unemployment register. In , special provisions were introduced for the older unemployed. Kohl's time as Chancellor also saw some controversial decisions in the field of social policy. Student aid was made reimbursable to the state [56] while the Health Care Reform Act of introduced the concept by which patients pay up front and are reimbursed, while increasing patient co-payments for hospitalisation, spa visits, dental prostheses, and prescription drugs.

After the federal elections Kohl won a slightly reduced majority and formed his third cabinet. Following the breach of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the East German Communist regime in , Kohl's handling of the East German issue would become the turning point of his chancellorship. Kohl, like most West Germans, was initially caught unawares when the Socialist Unity Party was toppled in late Well aware of his constitutional mandate to seek German unity, he immediately moved to make it a reality. Taking advantage of the historic political changes occurring in East Germany, Kohl presented a ten-point plan for "Overcoming of the division of Germany and Europe" without consulting his coalition partner, the FDP, or the Western Allies.

On 18 May , Kohl signed an economic and social union treaty with East Germany. This treaty stipulated that when reunification took place, it would be under the quicker provisions of Article 23 of the Basic Law. That article stated that any new states could adhere to the Basic Law by a simple majority vote. The alternative would have been the more protracted route of drafting a completely new constitution for the newly reunified country, as provided by Article of the Basic Law. An Article reunification would have opened up contentious issues in West Germany, and would have been impractical in any case since by then East Germany was in a state of utter collapse.

In contrast, an Article 23 reunification could be completed in as little as six months. In the end, this policy would seriously hurt companies in the new federal states. He received assurances from Gorbachev that a reunified Germany would be able to choose which international alliance it wanted to join, although Kohl made no secret that he wanted the reunified Germany to inherit West Germany's seats at NATO and the EC.

A reunification treaty was signed on 31 August , and was overwhelmingly approved by both parliaments on 20 September These states had been the original five states of East Germany before being abolished in , and had been reconstituted in August. East and West Berlin were reunited as the capital of the enlarged Federal Republic.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Kohl confirmed that historically German territories east of the Oder-Neisse line were definitively part of Poland, thereby relinquishing any claim Germany had to them. In , Kohl confirmed, via treaty with the Czech Republic, that Germany would no longer bring forward territorial claims as to the pre ethnic German Sudetenland. This treaty was a disappointment for the German Heimatvertriebene "displaced persons". Reunification placed Kohl in a momentarily unassailable position.

He then formed his fourth cabinet. After the federal elections of Kohl was reelected with a somewhat reduced majority, defeating Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate Rudolf Scharping. In foreign politics, Kohl was more successful, for instance getting Frankfurt am Main as the seat for the European Central Bank. By the late s, Kohl's popularity had dropped amid rising unemployment. He immediately resigned as CDU leader and largely retired from politics. He remained a member of the Bundestag until he decided not to run for reelection in the election. Kohl's life after political office in the beginning was dominated by the CDU donations scandal.

The party financing scandal became public in , when it was discovered that the CDU had received and kept illegal donations during Kohl's leadership.

Media Response – IWH - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Halle

In , Kohl left the Bundestag and officially retired from politics. Later, he was largely rehabilitated by his party. The second part, published on 3 November , included the first half of his chancellorship — On 28 December , he was air-lifted by the Sri Lankan Air Force, after having been stranded in a hotel by the Indian Ocean earthquake.


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In late February , Kohl suffered a stroke in combination with a fall which caused serious head injuries and required his hospitalization, after which he was reported as bound to a wheelchair due to partial paralysis and with difficulty speaking. In , he had a gall bladder operation in Heidelberg, [86] and heart surgery in In , Kohl, despite frail health, began giving a number of interviews and issued statements in which he sharply condemned his successor Angela Merkel, whom he had formerly mentored, on her policies in favor of strict austerity in the European debt crisis and later also towards Russia in the Ukrainian crisis , [89] which he saw as opposed to his politics of peaceful bi-lateral European integration during his time as chancellor.

Helmut Kohl: leader who united Europe as well as Germany

The two had a one-hour conversation and released a joint press statement regarding the European migrant crisis , saying that both doubted that Europe was capable of continuing to absorb refugees indefinitely. The efforts of [Merkel] point in the same direction.

In , Kohl sued Random House , his former ghost writer Heribert Schwan and co-author Tilman Jens for publishing without his consent comments allegedly made by Kohl during interviews in and and published in an unauthorised biography in called Legacy: The Kohl Protocols. Parallel to this he was committed to German reunification. Although he continued the Ostpolitik of his social-democratic predecessors, Kohl supported Reagan's more aggressive policies in order to weaken the Soviet Union. Kohl faced stiff opposition from the West German political left and was mocked for his physical stature, alleged provinciality, simplistic language, and local dialect.

Similar to historical French cartoons of Louis-Philippe of France , Hans Traxler depicted Kohl as a pear in the left-leaning satirical journal Titanic. Comedians like Thomas Freitag and Stefan Wald imitated the chancellor, [] and books were sold with jokes rewritten with Kohl as the stupid protagonist. When Kohl died, left wing newspaper TAZ presented a title page showing a flower set typical for funerals, with a pear and the caption flourishing landscapes , Kohl's euphemism for East Germany after reunification. Following protests the editor-in-chief apologized. The minister-president of Rhineland-Palatinate — was a young reformer in a somewhat backward state, and a newcomer who heavily criticized the older party leaders.

Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl dead at 87

The national media, for as much as they took notice of him, regarded him with curiosity. But this changed when Kohl became chair of the federal party in , and even more dramatically when in late his party made him candidate for the chancellery. His opponents within the federal party, but also journalists and other observers, had their doubts whether the parochial but successful modernizer of a manageable smaller state was the right person to lead the Federal Republic, a huge and complicated industrial country.

Biographer Hans Peter Schwarz names five problems of the 46 year old candidate: being unfamiliar with the complicated relations in the Bundestag faction, having no international experience, having no profound knowledge of economics, but also: a lack of charisma and no cultural acceptance in Northern Germany. In small circles Kohl was fascinating and a perfect host; the larger the crowd, the vaguer, weaker and paler he appeared.

His gaze into TV cameras made him look helpless. When attacked, e. But in general he was no great orator, his speeches were lengthy and verbose. Additionally, the catholic with his Palatinate dialect, a folksy man who had culture but was simply no intellectual — to North German journalists like from the important newspapers made in Hamburg he just felt foreign, more than any previous CDU chairman. Kohl was a true people's person and loved to be in company of groups.

His tremendous memory about people and their lives helped him to build up his networks in the Christian Democratic Union, in government and abroad. In a study of German chancellorship as political leadership, Henrik Gast gives examples how much time Kohl invested into personal relationships even with the backbenchers in the Bundestag and also party officials up to the local level. This worked, because it fitted Kohl's character and was authentic. Kohl knew that all these people were the basis of his political power and that he needed their loyalty and personal affection.

He could also be rude to subordinates and assistants, and confront political adversaries. If you did not do what he wanted, empathy was over! There was also a difference between the younger Kohl and the chancellor in his later years, a parliamentary state secretary recalled: "A sense of tact and politeness? The early and the later Kohl — that was a tremendous difference. In the early years he had all of that, in the later years no more.

On 27 June , Kohl married Hannelore Renner , after he had already asked for her hand in marriage in , delaying the ceremony until he was financially stable. Hannelore Kohl had studied languages and spoke fluent French and English; during her husband's political career, she was an important adviser to him, especially on world affairs.

Walter Kohl worked as a financial analyst with Morgan Stanley in New York City and later founded a consulting firm with his father in Peter Kohl worked as an investment banker in London for many years. On 5 July , his wife, Hannelore , committed suicide; she had suffered from photodermatitis for many years. While in hospital in after suffering serious head trauma, [] Kohl, then aged 78, married Maike Richter , a former Chancellery employee who was 44 years old; they had no children.

For the entire duration of this marriage, Kohl had a brain injury, was barely able to speak, and was wheelchair-bound. According to Helmut Kohl's son Peter Kohl , Helmut Kohl did not intend to marry Richter and had stated this clearly; "then came the accident and a loss of control," Peter Kohl said, suggesting that Richter had pressured his then seriously ill father into marrying her. His children and grandchildren were also prevented from seeing him by his new wife for the last six years of his life. Helmut Kohl received numerous awards and accolades, as well as honorary titles such as doctorates and citizenships.

Kohl was honored with an unprecedented European act of state on 1 July in Strasbourg , France.

Kohl was interred in the Cathedral Chapter Cemetery "Domkapitelfriedhof" in Speyer , directly adjacent to the Konrad Adenauer Park and a few hundred metres to the northwest of the Cathedral. No member of the Kohl family—Kohl's children and grandchildren—participated in any of the ceremonies, owing to a feud with Kohl's controversial second wife Maike Kohl-Richter , who had among other things barred them from paying their respects to him at his house, ignored their wish for a ceremony in Berlin and their wish that Kohl should be interred alongside his parents and his wife of four decades Hannelore Kohl in the family tomb.

Media Response

Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking from the German Embassy in Rome, said that "this man who was great in every sense of the word—his achievement, his role as a statesman in Germany at its historical moment—it's going to take a while until we can truly assess what we have lost in his passing. Pope Francis lauded Kohl as "a great statesman and committed European [who] worked with farsightedness and devotion for the good of the people in Germany and in neighbouring European countries.

The 14th Dalai Lama praised Kohl as "a visionary leader and statesman" and said he had "great admiration for Chancellor Kohl's steady leadership when the Cold War came to a peaceful end and the re-unification of Germany became possible. Flags were flown at half-staff at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. Former U. President George H. Bush lauded Kohl as "a true friend of freedom" and "one of the greatest leaders in post-War Europe.


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President Bill Clinton said he was "deeply saddened" by the death of "my dear friend" whose "visionary leadership prepared Germany and all of Europe for the 21st century. President Donald Trump said Kohl was "a friend and ally to the United States" and that "he was not only the father of German reunification, but also an advocate for Europe and the transatlantic relationship.

The world has benefited from his vision and efforts. His legacy will live on. Secretary of State James Baker said Kohl's death means "Germany has lost one of its greatest leaders, the United States has lost one of its best friends and the world has lost a ringing voice for freedom," and that Kohl "more than anyone at the end of the Cold War [ As an authentic statesman, he knew how to combine pragmatism and a capacity of vision, furnishing a courageous contribution not only to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, but also to overcoming the dramatic divisions which, for decades, had torn Europe.

Former British Prime Minister John Major said Kohl was "a towering figure in German and European history" who "entrenched Germany in a wider Europe, in the hope of achieving a unity and peace that the continent had never known before. This required great political strength and courage — both of which qualities Helmut had in abundance. We have lost the father of modern Germany. Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said that "it was real luck that at that difficult time [—] leading nations were headed by statesmen with a sense of responsibility, adamant about defending the interests of their countries but also able to consider the interests of others, able to overcome the barrier of prevailing suspicion about partnership and mutual trust.

The name of this outstanding German politician will stay in the memory of his compatriots and all Europeans. I profoundly admired his wisdom and the ability to make well-considered, far-reaching decisions even in the most difficult situations. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the German politician. For the Austrian football referee, see Helmut Kohl referee. Hannelore Renner m. Maike Richter m. Walter Kohl Peter Kohl. Main article: German reunification.

See also: List of honors and awards received by Helmut Kohl. Main article: Death and funeral of Helmut Kohl. Biography portal Conservatism portal Germany portal s portal s portal. The Western Experience 10th ed. Time Europe.

Helmut Kohl

Archived from the original on 19 September Retrieved 16 June Monsters and Critics. Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Archived from the original on 21 May Helmut Kohl: Virtuose der Macht. Retrieved 11 June Gropp: Report: " Ost-Firmen sind deutlich weniger produktiv" in: n-tv. Michael Koetter: Report: "Se il treno cinese si ferma" in: Panorama ital. Gropp: Report: "China remains Germany's most important trading partner"in: China.

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