tv Quadriga - The International Talk Show LINKTV June 29, 2017 7:00pm-7:31pm PDT
europe will be saying farewell to a former chancellor helmut kohl who passed away two weeks ago. many in n germany have been discscussing his life and .chievements the longest-serving chancellor is credited with bringing about reunification and playing a role in the introduction of the single european currency. for the first time, he will receive the tribute of a special memorial ceremony y in strasbur. in berlin, a requiem mass but no
state ceremony. instead, controversy over his legacy. ask, whatadriga we we is his legacy? i am joined in the studio by sonne, aeerner correspondent reporting on german politics. he says he will go into the history books of the chancellor of reunification but it there is also the power-hungry politician who offended many. another observer joins us, alan posener, who argues that helmut kohl's legacy is the expansion of the european union, the deepening and broadening of europe. cleaver,come to hannah who has also closely watched helmut kohl's career.
she says corporatism were rife in his era. germany is now more modern and its politicians can stand up straighter. i would like to begin with werner sonne. i have a quote for you. johl was a stroke of luck for germany and europe." >> i agree 100%. he was a unifier of germany and europe. theheir he did not start reunification, thehe people of eastst germany started the procs in g g did not complete the unification but nevertheless, he was an extremely important element in the processes. >> you experienced in close-up on many occasions. what kind of a man was he? >> he had a lot of different sides. he could be very friendly but he
to waslso be very brutal the people around him. as a journalist, i experienced all of that close-up. this is also part of his legacy. >> allen, what is your strongest memory of helmut kohl? give us something that tells us the most about who he was? >> i remember on the night the wall came down for the night after that when he flew from berlin.imberland -- to there was an assembly in front of the town hall where john f. kennedy had his speech. the mayor of west berlin was there. there was a crowd of people who were jubilant at the fall of the wall and helmut kohl starts to sing the german national anthem. you can hear, they are all out
of tune. yellingla andisa whistling against this because that is n where germany was at the time. i think that shows that he was very definitely a patriot and he immediately realized that this is a patriotic moment for germany whereas most germans were very happy -- but not on the same page as in. absolutely. i was with helmut kohl in poland on that night. in all fairness, one has to say that night people around him were not thinking about german reunification. they were thinking about the thousands and hundreds of thousands of people who would come to west germany and the question was, what will we do with all the fees people?
was the sort on this historic night. a few weeks later, you gave the famous speech where he was asking for a confederation of the germanies. clintonh cleaver, bill has been praising helmut kohl these recent days but you said earlier -- he said -- he as theed helmut kohl most important european statesman since the second world war. can you go with it? >> certainly. that is not to say there is no criticism. definitely the most important. the postwar european story has been dominated by this problem, what do we do with germany? how do we handle a country that started world wars?
this:o you do to tie down are of european economics and power? faults, he really cleaned up shop. if you look at his career, that is what he did. he tied germany into the european union. totally. he took care of business in many ways in the east of germany which is often at the moment not being talked about enough, how much he did stress relations to east germany. his passing really does open up german politicians to the idea that they can become more proud of being german. as alan was saying, in the
1980's and most of the 1990's, people singing for german action was a sign of fascism. most right-thinking germans would never do it. this generational change, you are allowed to be proud of being german. you are allowed to waive the german flag. that is something that was not possible during his time and that era. coming into germany being a normal country which it wanted to do for a long time. i saw him on a lot of occasions and he always stressed when you go to france in you greet the french flag, you do it twice. in other words, you make france bigger and germany smaller. that was his idea, to make german reunificatition possible.
his idea, the way he thought was, we need german reunification. understood that germany would be a giant inside europe and therefore, an economic giant and hele around us -- understood very well that he had to make germany smamaller than t actually was and the way to do it -- >> which was difficult -- >> but he fully understood that and the way to do it was to integrate their reunified germany into europe. >> we hear about his achievements and patriotism. here is a question for you. i wonder whether you personally feel grateful to helmut kohl for the miracle live reunification
because the reason i am asking is because he became better over the fact that in his estimation people were not grateful. they were ungrateful. should have been grateful for reunification because he was a spent force at the time. he had been chancellor for six years. he had wanted to turn germany britain andher-ite it became a green paradise despite the things he said. reunification gave him a second lease on life. am i grateful looking back? no. he is a politician. he was the right man at the right time. ungrateful and is toward politicians, it happens to everybody who stays too long and happen to winston churchill,
charles de gaulle. it will happen to angela merkel and it happened to helmut kohl. >> would reunification have happened without him? >> of course. the problem that they put on that first evening as you told us was the problem that forced the germans to say, in order to keep them there, let's give them west germany. certainly as is very important element in the bigger picture. i am convinced that without helmut kohl and others whom we defended like president bush, , thisikael gorbachev process would not have been possible. i am convinced of that. befriendis ability to
all of these people and trust was the keyword. they trusted him on both sides. that made it possible that these leaders, president bush on the one side and mikael gorbachev on the other side, allowed it to happen. .> there is no doubt about it helmut kohl had a talent for forging relationships that were useful later. , if youso interesting want to understand helmut kohl a little bit more to look at the strained relationship he had with angela merkel. helmut kohl discovered angela merkel who rose rapidly through the ranks. in 1991 she became minister for women and youth and later environment minister. anangela merkel admired helmut
kohl but did not like it when he called her his girl. helmut kohl lost the 1998 election and step down as party leader. because of the donation scandal under his watch he also withdrew as honorary chairman. .ngela merkel distance herself she was elected chancellor in 2005. her relationship remained difficult. despite calls from within the party, she did not offer helmut .ohl honorary leadership again she papaid tribute to his achievemements when he w won the henry kissinger prize. he said not one word about her. how much is angela merkel like her one-time mentor? >> tell us more about the relationship between them. very different people. catholic from the west of germany and deeply ofedded in the tradition
capitalism and europe. east, a woman from the from a protestant and by the way communist background, who has no emotional relationship to anything helmut kohl stood for. they are very different people and you saw it in the way angela merkel has handled europe -- badly, in my opinion. she is a nationalist. a protestant nationalist from prussia whereas he was a european. imagine twordly more different types of people. >> tell us a little bit about because the key moment in their relationship was the party donation scandal in 1999.
tell us about her intervention and that crisis and whether that intervention was courage or opportunism? >> it was both. timepenly said it at the that we should not be afraid to clear this whole thing up. that is what she did. she was the secretary-general of the cdu at the time and she distanced the party from helmut kohl. she wrote an article at the height of the scandal and she said that the era of helmut kohl is over. >> kept the money, though. scandal-- without the and her standing up against him she would not be the chancellor today because the scandal cleared the way for her to become the chairwoman of the cdu.
therefore, the necessary stepping point to become the chancellor later. kohl'sgreat was helmut fall from grace? his supporters suggest that the whole thing was a footnote in a great life. >> i think it is actually overshshadowed. people are talking about it now after his death and they are not going to stop. it illustrated his arrogance when he stood there and said, i am not going to tell you who gave me the money, putting his own sense of honor -- >> arrogance? >> loyalty? >> he was putting his personal sense of honor above the state, the law, his own party, his career. andasn't a very smart move angela merkel gave him a necessary push. >> totally agree.
to say, i gave them my word. the fact is these it were even and any others citizen would have been bound by it theclear up who gave illegal donations. that said? it is really a huge scandal and it is a pity because it wasn't necessary. he just said that because he didn't want people to know who it was. he got away with it as far as the laws concerned. he hasn't got away with it as far as his reputation is concerned. a point about european policy because helmut kohl was possessive about the europe that he believed he helped create. he was critical of angela merkel of the eurozone crisis.
he said, she is sister on my europe. how unfair was that? >> she is a german nationalist. helmut kohl always realized throughout his whole career, totally independent of my understanding of his personal relationships. that.lked about in order to alleviate the fear of german dominance. angela merkel has used the euro to increase german dominance across the board. economically, politically. she has the european commission, all of the other politicians of europe and until emmanuel macron came around, nobody could stand up to her. helmut kohl would never have let that impression arise. >> is that because she is of her own generation?
we now have a normal country. -- germany is finally able to act in its own interest. >> germany is never going to be a normal country, not because of the holocaust, because if you have 80 million people in the center of europe, you are not a country like, say, liechtenstein . poland. the only other country similar is britain and we have lost britain also thanks to angela merkel. idea.s no > i have to take issue. to betray angela merkel as a nationalist has little to do with reality. actually had to suffer in a
way because helmut kohl never finished the european process. so butted it and rightly for many reasons, he never was able to complete the necessary steps to really unite europe and make it a political and ecoconoc entity and that came about in 2008 when the financial crisis brbroke and that had very much o do with the deficiencies of europe and it was not her fault and also, she certainly is the strong leader in this europe. no doubt about it. germany is as big as it is but her strength is the weakness of many european leaders. ?> what has that led to a continuing crisis in southern , a divisionit
between western and eastern europe, especially hungry and poland. -- hungary and poland. she squandered everything helmut kohl stood for. >> we can debate about what happened in great britain, whether this is her fault or david cameron who started an unnecessary referendum. [laughter] >> i would absolutely agree. i think it has nothing to do with angela merkel. >> it is the british fault, not the germans who made the referendum happen. >> we are going to move from the european panorama back to the local level in the last couple days. there has been an unholy feud over helmut kohl's funeral, mainly within his family. is there a political dimension?
helmut kohl d deployed his family as invevestors ofhe poli he calalled a moraral turnaround back to traditional conservative values. the personnel was always political. the façade of the perfect family crumbled. wife took her own life in 2001. his son wrote a book in which he said his father failed as a father. helmut kohl married a woman who worked in the chancellery office . some observers accused her of further isolating his husband -- her husband from his sons. she refused entry to his father's house. the widow does not want to feel the risk between father and son. who will be the keeper of helmut kohl's legacy? story.s a painful
what is the political dimension? >> it is a disaster for his legacy. also, going back to his generation, it shows what was demanded of people and politicians of that generation. they were not expected or permitted to have family lives or private lives, hobbies. what did helmut kohl do in his free time? he certainly wasn't spending it with his family. >> mary to his politics? >> both. life outside of politics and i think from that political angle i think it is a shame because that does not make for a particularly brilliant politician. he was fabulous in many ways but he -- but did he understand people? >> the unifier who cannot unifyy
his own family. >> i agree. there is not much to add other than to say thahat it is extremy sad. there are a lot of people who really can't understand that and there are few people to blame. generationber of the accused by the people around him of being a moral and wrecking the family and so one -- it is all balderdash. this was the hypocrisy of so-called conservatism. helmut kohl had marital affairs. stop that once and for all because it is so distasteful. this family is not an exception, this family is typical of that
hypocritical postwar generation revolutionthe sexual and i'm actually quite happy that that has been exposed. >> wow. [laughter] >> yeah. [laughter] >> i was going to ask each of you to give me what is helmut kohl's legacy? you said at the beginning. it is german unification. 50 years from now, the history books will tell you helmut kohl was the unifier of germany. helmut kohl had a strong role in the unification of europe and nobody will talk about his marriages and why and why not and what was the party donations scandal. >> let's go back to german unification. i was idea 20 seconds from each
of you. has german reunification been a success story? >> overall, it is. there whovictims out , nevertheless it is a huge success story. >> absolutely. many people were losers of it and they need to be made winners again. >> i agree. a success story and an ongoing task. .> thanks very much we have been talking about the legacy of helmut kohl. thank you for joining us on quadriga. cheers. ♪
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