World leaders are paying tribute to former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who has died at the age of 87. The EU’s Jean-Claude Juncker said flags would fly at half-staff in Brussels to honor a “great European.”
The news of Helmut Kohl’s death, which broke on Friday, triggered a wave of responses from politicians around the world, expressing sadness at the passing of the leader credited with reunifying Germany.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Kohl “was a great European and a great friend.”
Helmut's death hurts me deeply. My mentor, my friend, the very essence of Europe, he will be greatly, greatly missed https://t.co/ikJFdzK9m0
— Jean-Claude Juncker (@JunckerEU) June 16, 2017
Flags at European institutions would be flying at half-staff as a tribute to the man who “filled the European house with life.”
‘A rock – both steady and strong’
Former US President George H. W. Bush, who cooperated with Kohl and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to reunite East and West Germany at the end of the Cold War, also mourned Kohl’s death.
Bush described Kohl as “a true friend of freedom,” saying he considered him “one of the greatest leaders in post-war Europe.”
“Working closely with my very good friend […] will remain one of the greatest joys of my life. Throughout our endeavors, Helmut was a rock – both steady and strong,” Bush said Friday.
Kohl had spoken to his biographers at length about his friendship with Bush, whom he met while the American was still serving as vice president under Ronald Reagan.
Gorbachev, the last leader of the USSR, said Kohl was an “outstanding person” whose impact on world history would stand the test of time.
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