John J. Halloran, Jr., P.C.

Tributes in Europe

Offering her official condolences on June 18, 2017, German Chancellor Angela Merkel honored the late Helmut Kohl as a "great German and a great European" who "made an almost unparalleled contribution to the restoration of our country’s unity and to European harmony." French President Emmanuel Macron stated that Helmut Kohl was "one of the great men of Europe and the free world" and that he "forged the unity of Europe" with former French President François Mitterrand. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "Helmut Kohl filled the European house with life – not only by building bridges to the West and the East but also by never ceasing to propose ever better ways on how to take Europe forward." Mr. Juncker added: "Without Helmut Kohl there would have been no euro. Right from the start, he understood the political and economic significance, the immeasurable value and the attraction of a single currency for our continent. For him, as for his closest partner, François Mitterrand, Europe was a peace project." As of June 16, 2017, European flags of the Berlaymont flew at half-mast to pay tribute to Helmut Kohl, former German Federal Chancellor and Citizen of Honour of the European Union. See Photo »

Tributes from the United States

Helmut Kohl worked closely with U.S. Presidents and leaders throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and his passing has generated immediate, unanimous and thoughtful tributes about his lasting contribution to universal democratic values and institutions.

On June 16, 2017, President Donald J. Trump stated: "The longest serving Chancellor in modern German history, Chancellor Kohl was a friend and ally to the United States as he led the Federal Republic of Germany through sixteen pivotal years. He was not only the father of German reunification, but also an advocate for Europe and the transatlantic relationship. The world has benefited from his vision and efforts. His legacy will live on."

In a statement released from Kennebunkport, Maine on June 16, 2017, former President George H.W. Bush called the late Chancellor "a true friend of freedom, and the man I consider one of the greatest leaders in post-war Europe." He also recalled his relationship with the late Chancellor: "Working closely with my very good friend to help achieve a peaceful end to the Cold War and the unification of Germany within NATO will remain one of the great joys of my life." Former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III, who served in that role from 1989-1992, eloquently observed: "Germany has lost one of its greatest leaders, the United States has lost one of its best friends and the world has lost a ringing voice for freedom."

Helmut Kohl and Bill Clinton

It is particularly important to note Helmut Kohl’s effective and warm relationship with President Bill Clinton which, in turn, reflected the strong bond between the United States and Europe. On June 16, 2017, President Bill Clinton said: "I am deeply saddened by the passing of my dear friend, Helmut Kohl, whose visionary leadership prepared Germany and all of Europe for the 21st century." In President Clinton’s words, Helmut Kohl "made possible the reunification of a strong, prosperous Germany and the creation of the European Union."

For his part, Helmut Kohl reflected on the strong relationship between Germany and the United States. At a State Dinner in 1995, Chancellor Kohl recalled America’s historic friendship and support, noted the pivotal contributions of Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and praised President Clinton in highly personal terms in light of their shared experience at the Brandenburg Gate: "Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton and my wife and I were fortunate enough to walk through that gate because you stood shoulder to shoulder with us." And the two leaders manifested a strong working relationship cemented over lunches and dinners. Their working lunches at the Chancellor’s favorite restaurant in Washington, D.C. – Filomena Ristorante in Georgetown – were legendary among Washingtonians in the 1990s; indeed, Filomena's owner considered one such dinner to be “overwhelming, incredible, a real warm feeling, sort of like if your children had been away a long time and came home – it was like having a big wedding in the family.”

The strong personal relationship was also on exhibit outside of Washington. On May 23, 1996, Chancellor Kohl and President Clinton made a visit to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with an extraordinary event at Pere Marquette Park before a crowd estimated at 14,000 (See Photo »). A sign in the crowd declared "Willkommen zur unserer deutschen stadt" – "Welcome to our German city." Chancellor Kohl reciprocated Milwaukee’s warm welcome: "let me say that I immediately accepted the invitation to come to Milwaukee because this is, after all, a region that, as regards the history of the United States and the history of this State of Wisconsin, was in many ways one where German immigrants left their imprint. And I think it’s a very good opportunity to be able to address the citizens of this State and of this region and to document once again how close the German-American relations have developed over the years. And let me say that I'm very, very pleased, and it warms my heart to be here." When the speeches in Pere Marquette Park were done, the two leaders enjoyed what has been described as a “substantial” luncheon at Miss Katie’s family-style diner near Marquette University.

On 1 July 2017, President Clinton attended and participated in the European Ceremony of Honour for Dr. Helmut Kohl in the Plenary Chamber of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. He delivered an extraordinary tribute and farewell, reproduced here courtesy of the European Parliament Audiovisual Services. See link »