Kohl encourages Merkel to pursue EU unity

Merkel arrives in Brussels for a meeting with top EU leaders. 16 July 2014 [The Council of the European Union]
Merkel arrives for a meeting with top EU leaders. Brussels, 16 July. [The Council of the European Union]

In a letter congratulating German Chancellor Angela Merkel on her 60th birthday Thursday (17 July), former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl encouraged her to focus on policy that brings Europe closer together, and emphasised the value of partnership with the United States. EurActiv Germany reports.

"I would like to encourage you to hold on to a united Europe, to further promote political agreement and continue to stand up for necessary stability", writes Helmut Kohl in a congratulatory letter published in Germany's Bild newspaper on Angela Merkel's 60th birthday (17 July).

84-year-old Kohl, who served as German Chancellor from 1982 to 1998, spoke of a unique success story for Germany and Europe "alongside our American friends in the free Western world and community of values".

From 1991 to 1998, Merkel worked closely with Kohl as his Minister of Women and Youth and Minister of Environment. He is considered one of Merkel's most defining political mentors.

"In view of the current circumstances and discussions, I can only encourage you again to continue resolutely along this path," Kohl writes in the letter.

If stability and security is to remain guaranteed on the European continued, Kohl writes, there is no alternative to a united Europe and the euro. But Europe and its common currency can only fulfill the hopes invested in them as a "community of stability among member states that are stronger and likewise able to take common action".

Political actors in the EU are currently debating whether more or less integration should be the bloc's goal. At the moment, Germany's relations with the United States are particularly strained due to numerous revelations regarding spying activities undertaken by US intelligence services.

Pro-euro currency from the start

In May 1998, Helmut Kohl was among European Community heads of state and government, who decided in Brussels to introduce the euro currency.

At the time, Kohl himself admitted he was aware that his decision went against the will of a broad majority of the German population and that he would have to forgo many votes in the Bundestag elections a few months later. Sure enough, later that year Kohl's Christian democrats lost the race to social democrat Gerhard Schröder.

Just a few days before EU elections on 25 May 2014,  Kohl emphasised that a united Europe remains a question "of war and peace, along with everything that follows: peace comes with freedom, prosperity and democracy."

In a May interview with Bild, Kohl emphasised that to achieve this, finances must be straightened out, and political union, on issues of economic and financial policy, as well as foreign and security policy, must be placed back on the agenda.



an european's picture

A United Europe !
Yes I'm for .. but NOT if it comes on it's every 's own selfish - competing each other on their own behalf and causing damage each other ..the common level need to be more fhomogeneous !

David Barneby's picture

I think Kohl is out of touch with the EU . There has been since the original treaty of Rome an aim for a united Europe ; but today it is unlikely to happen , pushing it may easily cause a split . It is all very well for politicians to follow idealism , but I don't think the people will support it . Britain will never join a federal state of Europe . Right across Europe people prefer their own sovereignty , better to have 28 sovereign states .

an european's picture

Of course Britain will not join but will exit in 2017 - !
About "sovereignty" what about Scotland ?
If it comes to jobs and economy then for me this is much more important than sovereignty and an huge amount of jobless & bad economy!
When do you think people get frustrated ?
At least those 18 EMU states will share more of it's financial policies / structures !

GeorgeMc's picture

You are quite right David, and right now, according to stats from Eurobarometer, trust in the EU has reached a new low in Spain, UK, France, Germany, Italy. With Poland not having a majority, but distrust in the high Forty Percentage points. That covers about 350 million of your 505 million people.

Link to the Guardian article:


Starbuck's picture


Lol !! so what ?

distrust in EU institutions is more often than not a projection of distrusts in national politicians, since they are more mediatised and have a more direct influence on the voters concern (think taxes, social policies, housing, economic intervention ...).
in that respect, the quickest and easiest way for the citizens to improve their assessment of EU institutions/policies would be for national politicians to regain some of their credibility.
interestingly, the EU can also improve its popularity when seen as a counter-balance if national politicians just "don't get it" and keep sinking ;)

If I were to use your argumentation, then anyone would probably reach the conclusion that the UK is an ungovernable, corrupt, broken country. Bound to internal explosions of riots and secessionist tendencies by ethnic minorities (scots, irish) ... ridiculous
and yet, here are the "polls" :

73% thought UK politicians corrupt, which in your understanding means 73% of UK politicians "are" corrupt

60% are distrustful of UK politicians, which means UK institutions must be hated even more than EU ones. Revolution and Freedom !! ^^

"broken society" and "riots" caused by general distrust in politicians. Here we are : riots everywhere, all the time, the end is near !!

Best regards,

GeorgeMc's picture

Kohl encourages Merkel to pursue EU unity

I have copied the article header just to remind you what this EU online newspaper is talking about.
It should not be too difficult, given a degree of common sense, to see my link to the Guardian article as a discussion point which speaks directly to the point raised by this disgraced ex German leader.

This debate should be about the EU and its politics and the desirability or otherwise of closer union.

Like all Europhiles who usually do not have a cogent argument they attack the politics of the posters nation, while generally themselves, hiding behind anonymity (I don't think you are from the UK).

I do participate in political discussions on online forums in my own country and you might just be surprised or even shocked at my attitude of politicians in my own country. I would just gently remind you, that like other EU countries we have an opportunity every four or five years to cast a judgement which may remove the offending party from power. The argument for or against Europe should stand on its own merits. But really and truthfully you are going to struggle to get anyone to identify with a block of 510 million. It is far too big and unmanageable. Some posters proudly proclaim that they are Europeans. In less than 200 words, can someone please explain to me what a European is or must be?

As a fan of Monty Python most people would know what I mean when I say that as far as the UK is concerned, further political and economic union is 'a dead parrot'. My main reason for posting the link was to try and get some discussion going about the EU's continuing drive for political union when I is not just the usual suspect (UK) where the voters are less than impressed. I do however believe that the Euro countries need to engage with political union. If they don't there is still a chance of the whole project going belly up!

To blame it all on national politicians and the media is just a cop out. :)

Starbuck's picture

"participating in online arguments" is what internet trolls do
voting at elections (local, general and european) are what concerned citizens do

only one cursory look at your online activity is enough to see where you stand. and that is on the side of hypocrisy.
you attacked this article by linking to a Guardian article pointing out the degree of discontent of European people with their institutions. Going so far as extrapolating the results of a poll (usually done with a sample of around 1000 people) to apply them to the whole population of EU countries, as if everybody (inc. non-voting children) were of that shared those opinions. for all you know, the polling sample may as well represent no more than themselves ....

that smacks of illiteracy and innumeracy to me.

that's why I generously pointed out other articles to you, that show even greater levels of discontent with politicians at national level, which most reputable pollsters will confirm are more relevant to explain the general poor standing of politicians (at home and abroad).
the same patterns can be found in large federal countries with state legislatures (like the USA or India, where approval of the equivalent "Brussel" stand in the low 30' ... or close to 70% disapproval)

after all, it's the meme of euroskeptics such as yourself to harp that there is no European demos, only national politics. it's time you display some common sense, if not intellectual honesty, and recognize that if the latter is true, then my first point stand to reason (and your poorly cogent ranting very much disproved).

failure to do so, will only reveal your hypocrisy
back to square one ;)

Best regards,

GeorgeMc's picture

"participating in online arguments" is what internet trolls do"

Your opening statement shows a poor understanding of the word troll, try this:


"only one cursory look at your online activity is enough to see where you stand. and that is on the side of hypocrisy."
Hardly, old boy, as you know nothing about me and in your cursory look at my posts you will not find any of my views which are not sincerely held.
Yes I am Eurosceptic, I may even be in the majority. If you can point out anything in my posts which are contradictory, I look forward to hearing about it. Have another look at the meaning of hypocrisy.

I know nothing about you and will make no rash claims and avoid trolling. On the subject of trolling my original post was to somone else, but hey ho!

You shoot of on a tangent attacking Eurobarometer and the Guardian because you appear not to like the what they have said. I can't do a lot about that.
Get over your self and move on. I don't know if you read the full article but it makes it clear Brussels are concerned about it, but have no idea what to do.

"after all, it's the meme of euroskeptics such as yourself to harp that there is no European demos, only national politics."

I have no real idea about politics outside of the UK and I would not therefore be arrogant enough to comment. You clearly think youself an expert in this field and you therefore have my undieing respect and admiration.

European demos as in the EU is non existent. Don't just take my word for it, do a little research. The EU is too big while it stands at 510 million for any form of demos. EU elitism, arrogance and a dismissiveness towards ordinary voters is alive and kicking and is probably one of the many reasons for so called Europeans feeling the EU is not working for them.

I have already posted to you that I worry about that and regardless of point of view we are interdependent to a degree and any further disasters in the Eurozone or EU is not good for the UK either. I therefore say that for us it would be good if the Eurozone could come to some agreement to form a banking, financial and political union.

Then we will all be happy!

Gerry's picture

A united Europe is possible. Freedom to travel, freedom to settle, freedom to work, a unified banking and taxation system, minimum wage and social security arrangements, interconnected energy supplies and digital access, how much is left? What this Europe needs to do though is guarantee people their cultural integrity and respect for their language and traditions. Europe can be united, it just can not be homogenous. From this point of view, union is not far off.

Eurochild's picture

"What this Europe needs to do though is guarantee people their cultural integrity and respect for their language and traditions."

Quite right. There shouldn't be such a dependence on the English language and the official use of other languages should be promoted too.

an european's picture

I agree an i am for it !

But why MUST a country like as an ex. like Luxemburg learn 4 Languages !
German , French , English and home Language whilst other have one or two !
So home language and English as business would be enough! If you want or need then you can learn other languages !

A Londoner's picture

It is striking that despite the strength of feeling voiced by those who advocate a "United Europe" there is a lack of willingness to think deeply about issue.
1. The lack of thought given to the single currency was quite shocking.
2. They are happy to wave the flag but are unwilling to answer difficult questions about who is European. Are we the heirs to Christendom?
3. All the evidence is that political unity needs linguistic unity but in Europe there is a sentimental attachment to all languages.
4. Europe stresses "the social dimension" but seems to ignore the fact that element is strongest in homogeneous nations states and weakest in the large federations that are the most similar to a possible US of Europe.
5. There is a total absence of any consideration as to how an emerging US of Europe must look to our paranoid Russian neighbours.

There is a committment to "ever closer union" but not much thought beyond that.