Europe to honor Kohl with July 1 memorial ceremony

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 20, 2017 4:34 PM

BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will hold a memorial ceremony in Strasbourg on July 1 for former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, who died on Friday, the first time the EU has staged such a commemoration.

The ceremony will take place in the European Parliament, the parliament said in a joint announcement on Tuesday with the executive European Commission and the European Council, which represents the 28 national governments of the EU.

Kohl, who died aged 87, was Germany's longest-serving post-war chancellor, serving from 1982 to 1998. The architect of Germany's 1990 reunification, he was also a driving force behind the introduction of the euro currency.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel would speak at the Strasbourg ceremony along with French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and former U.S. president Bill Clinton.

After the ceremony, a funeral service will be held in Speyer Cathedral in western Germany, near Kohl's former home in Ludwigshafen.

The office of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that at the request of Kohl's widow, his second wife, Maike Kohl-Richter, there would be no further state ceremony in Germany.

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Kohl, along with former European Commission chief Jacques Delors and Jean Monnet, founding father of the European project, are the only three people the EU has made Honorary Citizens of Europe, an honor bestowed for extraordinary work to promote European cooperation.

(Reporting by Tom Koerkemeier; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Gareth Jones)