Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Kohl ranked among greatest European statesmen, politicians say

19 June 2017

Prague, June 16 (CTK) - Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who died today at the age of 87 years, was one of the greatest European statesmen, Czech politicians, including former president Vaclav Klaus, have told CTK in reaction to his death.

They reminded of his contribution to the reunification of Germany as well as the building of the European Union (EU) and strengthening Czech-German relations.

"Helmut Kohl was one of the greatest statesmen in Europe in the last quarter of the 20th century," Klaus told CTK.

Kohl was a keen supporter of the unification of Europe as defence against possible wars, Klaus said.

"Europe has mainly him to thank for the introduction of the euro, which was an utterly political project to him the economic costs of which he did not take into consideration," Klaus said.

He said he highly appreciated that Kohl was able to understand the position of the Czech Republic towards Germany and this is why they together prepared and signed the Czech-German Declaration focused on the future and not on the past.

The Declaration on Bilateral Relations and their Future Development, in which the two countries pledged not to burden bilateral relations with controversial issues from the past and focus on future cooperation instead, was signed by Kohl and Klaus in his capacity as Czech prime minister in 1997.

"It was not easy to influence him (Kohl), he managed to push through his views in European and world politics for long decades," Klaus said. "I liked him," he added.

Chamber of Deputies chairman Jan Hamacek (senior government Social Democrats, CSSD) and other politicians called Kohl a great personality of German and European politics on Twitter.

"A key statesman of the free world who contributed to the fall of communism and overcoming its consequences," opposition right-wing Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman Petr Fiala said about Kohl.

"If only a trio of statesmen like him, Francois Mitterrand and Margaret Thatcher appeared in Europe again," opposition conservative TOP 09 chairman Miroslav Kalousek said.

Junior government Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) deputy chairman Marian Jurecka said Kohl was an exceptional politician, one of the few who was able to break walls between people and nations, who was building bridges and uniting.

Culture Minister Daniel Herman (KDU-CSL) said Kohl ranked among extraordinary politicians of European importance.

"I am glad that I could thank him for the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain," Herman said.

MEP Jiri Pospisil (TOP 09) said Kohl was "a distinctive personality who contributed to a more free world, which is not little."

Rudolf Jindrak, former ambassador to Germany and current head of the Presidential Office's foreign section, tweeted that Kohl was "a great statesman with whom the reunification of Germany is inseparably connected."


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