Germany's Helmut Kohl dies, aged 87

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A file picture dated 03 May 1985 shows (L-R) British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and US President Ronald Reagan attending an event at the World Economic summit in Bonn, GermanyImage copyright
EPA

Image caption

Despite occasional differences, Mr Kohl forged alliances with UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President Ronald Reagan

Helmut Kohl, Germany’s ex-chancellor and architect of reunification in 1990, has died at 87, German media say.

He died at his house in Ludwigshafen, in the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Bild newspaper reports.

Mr Kohl led Germany for 16 years (from 1982 to 1998). He is credited with bringing East and West Germany together after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Together with his French ally President Francois Mitterrand, he was responsible for the introduction of the euro.

Mr Kohl, who led the centre-right Christian Democrats, was the longest-serving German chancellor of the 20th Century.

In the UK, he is remembered for his differences over the EU with the late UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

He was instrumental in introducing the euro, the EU’s single currency, persuading Germans to give up their cherished deutschemark.

Mr Kohl suffered a bad fall in 2008 and had been confined to a wheelchair.

Obituary: Helmut Kohl

Helmut Josef Michael Kohl was born on 3 April 1930 into a conservative, Catholic family.

His political outlook was shaped by his experiences in his hometown of Ludwigshafen in the Rhineland during World War Two.

Because of its huge chemical works, the town was heavily bombed and, at the age of 12, the young Helmut found himself helping to recover the charred bodies of his neighbours from the rubble. What he once described as “the blessing of a late birth” freed him from any taints of Nazism.

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