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Ceremony of Honour for Helmut Kohl

An honour for a great European

For the first time in the history of the European Union, a European Ceremony of Honour is to be held. On 1 July in the European Parliament in Strasbourg Europe will pay tribute to former Chancellor Kohl. This will be followed in Germany by a funeral procession, a pontifical requiem mass in Speyer Cathedral and a military tribute.

Chancellor Helmut Kohl

Helmut Kohl saw German reunification and European integration as two sides of the same coin

Photo: Bundesregierung/Reineke

On Saturday 1 July the funeral service will be held for former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, with ceremonies in Strasbourg and Speyer. For the first time in the history of the EU a European Ceremony of Honour is to be held. The three EU institutions, the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission, will host the ceremony jointly.

The speakers will be the President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, former American President Bill Clinton, French President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The European Ceremony of Honour will begin at 11:00 in the European Parliament in Strasbourg and will end at 13:00.

The funeral ceremony in Germany

In the afternoon of 1 July, this will be followed by a further funeral service in Germany. After a requiem mass in Speyer Cathedral, a Bundeswehr guard of honour will pay tribute to the former Chancellor. Chancellor Angela Merkel and other representatives of the constitutional bodies of the Federal Republic of Germany will attend the service.

A helicopter will bring the coffin bearing the former Chancellor to Germany. The funeral procession will begin in Ludwigshafen am Rhein at 14:45. It will continue up the Rhine to Speyer with the MS Mainz and accompanying ships. At 18:00 the pontifical requiem mass will be held in Speyer Cathedral. It will be followed by a great military tribute in the square in front of the Cathedral as of 19:45.

The former Chancellor will then be buried in a private ceremony for close friends and family in the cemetery belonging to Speyer Cathedral Chapter in the town’s Adenauer Park.

Flags to fly at half mast across Germany on Saturday

As the Federal President’s Office and the Federal Ministry of the Interior announced in a joint statement, there is to be no additional state funeral, in line with the wishes of Helmut Kohl’s widow.

To mark the funeral ceremonies for Helmut Kohl, flags will fly at half mast across Germany on 1 July, announced the Federal Ministry of the Interior on Monday.

German Bundestag pays tribute to former Chancellor

It is largely thanks to Helmut Kohl that our country is today peacefully reunited in a free and peaceful Europe, stressed Bundestag President Norbert Lammert at a ceremony in the German Bundestag to pay tribute to the former Chancellor.

"The very fact that we can today pay tribute to him here in the Reichstag building in the heart of Berlin, capital of a reunited Germany, would have been inconceivable without the historical changes that are inextricably linked with his name," declared Norbert Lammert.

He pointed to the enormous sympathy in neighbouring countries and the worldwide response to the death of Helmut Kohl. This underlines the exceptional achievements of the former Chancellor and honorary citizen of Europe, he said.

In Strasbourg, Angela Merkel will be one of the speakers.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel observe a one-minute silence in the German Bundestag to pay tribute to former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who died last week.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel pay tribute to Helmut Kohl in the German Bundestag

Photo: Bundesregierung/Schacht

On 1 July a Ceremony of Honour is to be held for Helmut Kohl in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Chancellor Angela Merkel will be one of the speakers at the Ceremony, announced government spokesperson Steffen Seibert on Wednesday at the government press conference.

After the European Ceremony of Honour, a state funeral ceremony will be held in Germany. After a requiem mass in Speyer Cathedral, a guard of honour of the Bundeswehr will pay its last respects to the former Chancellor. In line with the wishes of his widow there will not be any additional act of state. The German government is liaising closely with Helmut Kohl’s widow, the European institutions and the French government with respect to preparations for the funeral, said Steffen Seibert.

Europe – a peace project

With the first Ceremony of Honour in the European Parliament, the European Union is honouring a committed European, for whom the peace project that Europe is was not only a matter of the head, but also of the heart.

Helmut Kohl lived through the war as an adolescent. The belief that there must never again be war in Europe was the driving force behind all of his political activities. He saw this idea of peace realised in a united Europe.

"For him and for his closest contemporary François Mitterrand Europe was always a project for peace," said Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, paying tribute to Kohl’s lifetime achievements. "Irrespective of which political matter the former Chancellor addressed, he never forgot that the European project saved this continent after the World Wars. For him it was not only a question of prosperity but also and above all a calling to accept joint responsibility for the future."

Further development of the European Community

In 1982 at the start of the first Presidency of the Council of the European Community under Helmut Kohl, he called for the further political development of the European Community. During his time as Chancellor he worked to develop the Single Market, engineer a common foreign policy and introduce European coordination and consultancy on security-policy issues. He wanted to preserve Europe’s independence and strengthen its security.

German reunification and European integration

Helmut Kohl saw German reunification and European integration as two sides of the one coin. Without the decision to forge ahead with European integration, German reunification would not have been possible. A resurgent Germany aroused the fears of other states. Helmut Kohl was able to convince the other heads of state and government that a reunified Germany must be firmly anchored in the European Union.

Helmut Kohl’s actions, said Angela Merkel, were shaped by the two most crucial challenges that have faced German politics over the last decades - "the reunification of our country and the unifying of Europe. Helmut Kohl understood that the two were inextricably linked and he rendered outstanding service to both these goals".

Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also paid tribute to the political legacy of Helmut Kohl for Germany and for Europe. "He was a great statesman, a great German politician and above all a great European. He did much not only to reunite Germany, but to bring Europe together."

Recognition of his services for Europe

For his services to European cooperation and as one of the "founding fathers" of the euro, Helmut Kohl was made an "honorary citizen of Europe". This honour is conferred only very rarely by the heads of state and government of the EU member states. Apart from Helmut Kohl, it has been granted only to Jean Monnet and Jacques Delors in recognition of their services to the European Union.

In November 1988 former Chancellor Helmut Kohl and President François Mitterrand were awarded the International Charlemagne Prize for their services to European unity.