German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Helmut Kohl was ”the right man at the right time” when the winds of change began sweeping through Eastern Europe in the 1980s.
Reacting to the news of her predecessor’s death earlier in the day, Merkel says the 87-year-old Kohl understood that there was a ”historic chance” to overcome Germany’s decades-long division and seized it.
Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, says her own life had changed noticeably because of Kohl’s efforts that ensured a peaceful reunification, for which she was deeply grateful.
Kohl was chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998.
Together with then French President Francois Mitterrand, Kohl was responsible for the introduction of the euro.
The cause of Kohl’s death has not been released but he suffered a bad fall in 2008 and had been using a wheelchair.