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Kohl: Europe still about war and peace

The Local · 28 Feb 2012, 09:00

Published: 28 Feb 2012 09:00 GMT+01:00

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Writing in the Bild newspaper, Kohl, who is widely credited as one of the architects of united Germany and Europe's single currency the euro, said: “The current discussion in Europe and the crisis-like situation in Greece cannot now lead us to lose the aim of a united Europe from view, or even to question it and pull back.”

He said the opposite was true. “We must use the crisis as a chance. We need – particularly now – more and not less Europe.”

He said the most important motivation of what he called Europe’s founding fathers – including in this Winston Churchill and Konrad Adenauer among others – was the desire to prevent further war. This remains valid, he said.

“Europe is our future. There is no alternative to Europe. We have every reason for optimism that we, that our Europe can also emerge from the current crisis stronger – if we want it. Let us not be led astray.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel had to rely on votes from the left-wing opposition Social Democratic Party for a parliamentary vote to endorse a multi-billion euro bailout for Greece on Monday evening.

She only garnered the votes of 304 of the 311 MPs in her centre-right coalition for the €130 billion rescue package which would only be paid if the Greek government imposes further tough austerity measures and accepts tighter European Union and International Monetary Fund oversight of its economy.

Story continues below…

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:49 February 28, 2012 by Ronkneelives
How disingenous of Kohl to trot this old nutmeg out again, trouble is Kohl has never been a clear thinker and this worn out pro EU mantra will not cut any ice in today's world. Even at his advanced age he must wake up to the fact that the ship he is standing on has already deployed the lifeboats. The Germans are printing Marks again, the Spanish are printing Pesetas, the project is dead in the water.
11:19 February 28, 2012 by Englishted
Remember he said the unification tax would only be for one year ,over twenty years later West Germany is still paying it.

Another one who is great at spending somebody else's taxes.
12:36 February 28, 2012 by michael4096
It is far easier criticising others for their actions than making things happen. Kohl is correct: there are a lot of good things that are too easy to ignore in an imperfect world. Not only is Europe geopolitically and economically the strongest it has been for a century but it is pretty stable too - probably for the first time in two millenia.

It is strong enough, for example, that the British union is considering breakup. Unthinkable at any other time in the last 350 years in an insecure Europe.

@Englishted - sure, reunification cost more than I really want to pay with my taxes. Until I consider the alternatives...
13:23 February 28, 2012 by Ronkneelives
The break up of the UK is only possible with the financial help of the EU. Scotland will become just another region under the umbrella of an increasingly undemocratic European Union . As Peter Mandelson the ex EU trade minister said " We are entering a post democratic Europe " . As for the EU being economicly strong........ someone is avving a larf.
13:25 February 28, 2012 by karldehm
He has a very valid point.

Lets not forget that the Euro-Zone has helped us more than it has cost it. Take time to look at the whole picture, not specific issues, which will be resolved over time.

Let's not run around yelling the sky is falling. It has been falling since the dawn of time, but we managed to carry on. Think and do something positive that will help us all, instead of whining about this and that as they are not really that important in the long run.
14:34 February 28, 2012 by LiterallySimon
"Chancellor Angela Merkel had to rely on votes from the left-wing opposition Social Democratic Party for a parliamentary vote to endorse a multi-billion euro bailout for Greece on Monday evening."

That is wrong. The CDU/CSU/FDP coalition had enough Yes votes to pass the bailout alone, as there were MPs missing on both sides. Check your numbers.
15:46 February 28, 2012 by jg.
Peace in Europe since WWII has been achieved by NATO and the Warsaw Pact - the EU has never had anything to do with it. Britain and France decided to end their millennium of mutual conflict with the Entente Cordiale in 1904 - the EU had nothing to do with that either. The only conflicts in Europe since WWII have been during the chaos following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the breakup of Yugoslavia. Kosovo has been the EU's first foray into foreign affairs and that has hardly been a resounding success, with the population still split on ethnic lines and continuing sectarian violence.

Looking at the ongoing unrest in Greece and the developing rancour between the peoples of Greece and Germany, it is not hard to see how the EU and its hatred for democracy may bring us war - much like earlier attempts to hammer Europe into a single country.
16:05 February 28, 2012 by coffejohn
An elderly man making a point that was valid in his day and in the circumstances that prevailed then.

The objective is still valid but the circumstances have changed and with them the motivation to retain the union.

As for the price, well we in the UK have a saying about a person who "knows the price of everything and the value of nothing"!
16:08 February 28, 2012 by Englishted

Please explain why one part of the country now pays higher tax to support the other part of the country?

I'm talking Germany not the U.K. o.k.
16:28 February 28, 2012 by Navigator_B
War will happen in the EU only if it keeps on forcing its citizens to pay for crises that were created by its elites. The German taxpayers, along with the population of Greece and other countries, are now expected to pay for the mistakes of bankers, politicians and senior officials who engineered bad loans or allowed them to happen. 

If Helmut Kohl wants to learn from history he should look at how the terms of the Versailles treaty after WW1 created poverty and resentment that led to extremism and war.

Kohl had to quit because of involvement in bribery from arms dealers and other big businesses. His expression "bad ghosts of the past¦quot; is a good description of people like himself.
17:18 February 28, 2012 by Sastry.M
Whatever are the views held by Kohl regarding the EU and Euro,his timely decisions during the fall of Berlin Wall and re uniting East and West Germanies in a bloodless revolution, is laudable. The heroic spirit of East Germans escaping to the West with many lives sacrificed at border fences served only Western propaganda during cold war period but not the fate that befell a divided nation and its people.

Where did all the boasted benevolence of well developed West evaporate consequent to re unification and people of east and west met squarely facing each other with gross economic disparities? Chancellor Kohl had managed the situation amicably in the aftermath of re unification of nation bombed out and battered with destitution and eclipsed with physical as well as economic partition after WW2.

If the wealthy westerners were taxed for the welfare of limping easterners yearning for freedom and reunion with families, the ploy has paid off for the welfare of own people in the true spirit of freedom and democracy for mutual benefit. The harder the Germans hold on to this spirit, the better for Onkel Kurt to remain O.K facing all economic upheavals boldly and extend genuine help to fellow Europeans.
17:22 February 28, 2012 by michael4096

Well I pay more tax so that the former east can bring its infrastructure up to the same level as the west. It is clear and reasonably transparent and although, like most, I don't like paying tax I accept it as important. You are correct, this does contrast with the UK where north and south pay the same tax but the south (or one little bit of it) gets 80% of all infrastructure expenditure despite having the better level to start with.
17:30 February 28, 2012 by carlm
Things don't look so peaceful to me these days in Greece with all the demonstrators and Nazi insults toward Germans. On top of it the whole continent is on the verge of bankruptcy. If that's what peace and prosperity looks like, I'd hate to see the alternative.

Kohl's an idiot who did more than enough damage to Germany. He should be glad he's not in jail and keep his mouth shut.

And if taxes are so helpful then why not tax everyone at 110%?
18:24 February 28, 2012 by tommy2shoes
Kohl is correct in his thinking. Just having nazism rare it's head every once in awhile says it has not been squashed....stronger and stronger it will become until it's uncontrolable. The EU will be reduced to 10 nations only in a short time....
18:57 February 28, 2012 by Englishted

We agree on the U.K. and I understand your points on East German but why after 20 years is it not up to the Western half? meanwhile projects in the West have no chance of going ahead.
20:00 February 28, 2012 by karldehm
What have any of these comments to do with the subject?
20:05 February 28, 2012 by Bushdiver
@ tommy2shoes.......What era are you living in? The Nazi's pop up now and then but will never again be in a position that there were in during the Hitler era. For that matter Germany will never be in a position to start a war which it can win. Let's face it. They are 0-2 in World Wars and I don't think anyone is interested in going for the hattrick.
20:15 February 28, 2012 by michael4096

If one accepts the original premise that the west should keep its promise to bring the east up to the correct level - and, there are a number of good reasons why one may not - the question becomes: why is it taking so long? I'm not an expert - these are not the sort of infrastructure projects I usually do - but I would guess three reasons, all pretty mundane.

- it was a bigger job than anybody guessed

- everybody forgot that it was a moving target, once another 5 year plan is done the west has moved on

- the Germans are not really very good at big one-off jobs, show them a nuclear power plant and tell them to build twenty and nobody in the world can beat them - but, that first military network or first A380 or whatever and they get hopelessly tangled up in process
20:22 February 28, 2012 by karldehm
What have any of these comments to do with the subject?
20:36 February 28, 2012 by michael4096
Kohl's credibility

Or, nothing at all - who cares?
06:12 February 29, 2012 by Rohland
The European Union was never started as a protection against war however much politicans love to say that is what motivates them and not power.The two nations that drove European unification after WW2 were France and Germany.Two powers that for centuries had been waging wars to achieve exactly that.After 1945 however war became an impossible means to achieve European unification due to nuclear weapons.European leaders knew that if they played their old game again the price would be too costly and there would be no winner only losers.Hence they decided to try a different path to achieving power the European Union.That is what it's all about power not people or peace or anything else It's to be able to stare down other world powers such as the USA,Russia,China,India,Brazil.
09:21 February 29, 2012 by The-ex-pat
More wise words from Helmut "I am far to important to appear in court on fraud charges, just tell me how much I have to pay and then go away you annoying little people" Kohl
10:44 February 29, 2012 by michael4096
@Rohland - "The European Union was never started as a protection against war ..."

Schumann's Declaration of 9th May, 1950 which formed the basis of the Treaty of Paris in 1952 begins: "World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it ... A united Europe was not achieved and we had war."

@jg. & Chango

As far as NATO vs the EU - why one or the other? And, don't forget two other important reasons why the last years have been quiet: exhaustion and the destruction of an aristocracy for whom international conflict was a way of life.

A more interesting issue is peace in Europe going forward. What is going to influence things most tomorrow: a €13Trillion EU interdependency or a "no squabbling" clause in a NATO treaty?
14:11 February 29, 2012 by strahlungsamt
Kohl didn't reunify Germany. Kohl just happened to be in the driver's seat when it happened. Germany was going to reunify no matter who was in charge. Kohl just lived in denial about the costs.

Just like his buddy Reagan claiming he ended the Cold War. The Soviet Union simply collapsed on his watch and he played along to get the credit for it.

Kohl should follow Reagan's example and die already. He's already used up his usefulness long ago. I never met a single German who liked him.
14:43 March 3, 2012 by Jollyjack
These pro EU idiots still persist in claiming that the EU has brought peace to Europe. What brought peace to Europe is NATO. NATO was founded in 1949 to counter the threat of invasion from the Soviet Union. NATO made allies from those who had previously been enemies. The European Coal and Steel Community, the precursor of the EU wasn't formed until 1951. NATO was already in existence. Winston Churchill thought a United States of Europe was a good idea but he didn't want the United Kingdom to be part of it. As part of NATO the United States still has thousands of troops and airmen stationed in Europe.
12:57 March 6, 2012 by cheeba
Matters of war and peace? Enough of the bombast. When Hannelore Kohl can rest in peace after what this pig did to her, then we should listen to this man.
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