Saturday

13th Apr 2024

Kohl: euro makes European unification irreversible

“The euro makes European unification irreversible,” former German chancellor, Helmut Kohl, told the European Forum Alpbach 2001 in Austria on Sunday. In what was his first public speech since the death of his wife in June, Mr Kohl called for European visions and people looking ahead of daily policies.

Helmut Kohl told the audience not to fall into pessimism and asked for a Europe of "quality instead of quantity".

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The decisions of electorates in sovereign states must be respected and accepted, Mr Kohl told the audience with reference to the freeze on bilateral diplomatic relations with Austria when the Freedom Party entered the government in February 2000.

One of the most critical voices towards the Austrian government was Belgium foreign minister Louis Michel, who now holds the presidency of the EU. Mr Michel also spoke in Austria at the Alpbach forum on Sunday and said, according to Der Standard, that the physical introduction of the euro is an important step for the EU, along with a possible decision at the EU summit in Laeken in December to make concrete the EU defence policy in order “to strengthen the international role of Europe”. Mr Michel also said that it is a priority for the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights to be written into the EU treaties and that a simplification of the treaties makes Europe easier to understand. A European constitution with clear distribution of powers between the EU and the member states is needed, according to Mr Michel. He also called for more EU integration in areas such as healthcare, the environment, justice, defence, immigration and asylum policies.

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