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"An outstanding German statesman and a great European has passed away. The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung mourns the loss of former German Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl, the Chancellor of German reunification and Honorary Citizen of Europe.
Helmut Kohl saw his Christian values and the experiences of his youth as a call to political action. Born on April 3rd, 1930 in Ludwigshafen, Germany, he felt the effects of war, dictatorship and nationalism as a teenager. His policies were firmly rooted in the conviction that new differences and hostilities could only be averted by working together as Europeans. As Minister President of Rhineland-Palatinate, as Chancellor and as Chairman of the Christian Democratic Union, he shaped German politics in the second half of the 20th century.
Chancellor Helmut Kohl's government policy focussed on giving the European integration process new momentum and being a reliable partner for neighbouring countries. The Schengen Agreement, the single European market, the opening of the Union for the reformed states of Central and Eastern Europe and the Treaty of Maastricht are all part of Helmut Kohl's political legacy. The highest European distinction was awarded Helmut Kohl on December 11th, 1998 as the heads of state and government of the European Union appointed him "Honorary Citizen of Europe", an honour that had previously only been bestowed on Jean Monnet.
Helmut Kohl's historical hour struck in 1989. The Chancellor seized the opportunity to complete German reunification in freedom in keeping with Konrad Adenauer's vision. Helmut Kohl had always kept the issue of German unity open—refusing to simply accept the two-state solution, and instead viewing the preamble of the German constitution as a call to action.
The success of German reunification will forever be connected with his statesmanship and the personal confidence that he had inspired throughout Europe and around the world.
Helmut Kohl had always been passionately committed to the work of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and served on its Board of Directors for many decades. We remain truly grateful for his tremendous contribution. Our thoughts and prayers are with Helmut Kohl, his wife and his family."