Friday, September 28, 2012

Helmet Kohl makes rare appearance to urge Europe to solve crisis and avert war

Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who reunified the country and pushed it into the euro, urged Europe to press ahead with closer integration despite a crisis of the single currency, saying the continent must never again descend into conflict.

In a rare public appearance to mark 30 years since he became chancellor, Mr Kohl was celebrated by party allies, an array of former presidents and prime ministers, as well as Angela Merkel, a former protege with whom he has had a frosty relationship since she turned on him more than a decade ago.

Frail since a fall in 2008 put him in the hospital for months, the 82-year-old Mr Kohl has remained largely silent through three years of euro turmoil, but on the occasions he has spoken out, he has voiced doubts about Ms Merkel's handling of the crisis, Reuters reported.

"Europe can never sink into war again," he told an audience at the German Historical Museum in Berlin. "We need to press ahead with the unification of Europe. Let's make good use of the time we have."

Before Mr Kohl spoke, Ms Merkel addressed the crowd, praising her former mentor's record but also defending her own approach to the crisis. Read More