Chancellor of Unity to be remembered at European Ceremony of Honour

28 June 2017
Helmut Kohl

Longest serving Chancellor considered the architect of German reunification

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 will pay tribute to former Chancellor Helmut Kohl. This will be followed in Germany by a funeral procession, a pontifical requiem mass in Speyer Cathedral and a military tribute. Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl has died at the age of 87 on 16 June.

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 11am in the European Parliament in Strasbourg and will end at 1pm.

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 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.

Father of German Unity

Kohl, the longest serving Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, is considered the architect of German Unity in 1990.

He was Chancellor from 1982 to 1998 and head of the CDU party.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesperson said in a tweet (in German): "In deep mourning for a great German and a great European".

In the book of condolence for Kohl at the Federal Chancellery Chancellor Merkel wrote: "We Germans owe him a great deal. I salute his memory..."

"The loss of Helmut Kohl is the loss of a great German and a great European," she wrote, and then went on to write: "He rendered exceptional service in reuniting our country and in unifying Europe."

German President Steinmeier also praised Kohl, and said speaking in Berlin: "We mourn the passing of a great statesman – but his achievements will endure."

Frank-Walter Steinmeier added, "It was particularly lucky for Germany that Helmut Kohl ruled the country at that crucial moment in history, with courage, vision and leadership."

Similarly, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in a statement, Kohl was "a great German statesman and above all a great European". He added, not only did Kohl do much for German reunification, but also for the integration of Europe.

"That is his great legacy. That is how we will remember him. Our thoughts are with his family und his children. A truly great German has passed."

German Ambassador Dr Peter Ammon tweeted:

© German Embassy London, Federal Government

The Embassy on Social Media

FacebookTwitterInstagramGoogle PlusFlickr
Book of Condolence for Helmut Kohl

A Book of Condolence for Helmut Kohl was open at the Embassy

HM The Queen with Chancellor Kohl on 20 October 1992

HM The Queen with Chancellor Kohl on 20 October 1992

Former Chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl with former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (17 September 1986)

Former Chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl with former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (17 September 1986)

Helmut Kohl

Born on 3 April 1930 in Ludwigshafen

1959 to 1976 Member of the state parliament of Rhineland-Palatinate

1969 to 1976 State Premier of Rhineland-Palatinate

1973 to 1998 Federal Chairman of the CDU

1976 to 2002 Member of the German Bundestag

1976 to 1982 Chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the German Bundestag

1982 to 1998 Chancellor

Died on 16 June 2017 in Ludwigshafen