Kohl slams government overBerlin Wall anniversary

8th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

8 November 2004 , BERLIN - Former chancellor Helmut Kohl - broker of Germany's historic 1990 reunification - on Monday slammed the government for, as he put it, having failed to truly accept the merger of former East and West Germany. Kohl, a Christian Democrat, said members of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democratic (SPD) coalition with the Greens were unable to celebrate German unity because they had opposed the move and it now "reminds them of their own failure." Current SPD leaders such as Fin

8 November 2004

BERLIN - Former chancellor Helmut Kohl - broker of Germany's historic 1990 reunification - on Monday slammed the government for, as he put it, having failed to truly accept the merger of former East and West Germany.

Kohl, a Christian Democrat, said members of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democratic (SPD) coalition with the Greens were unable to celebrate German unity because they had opposed the move and it now "reminds them of their own failure."

Current SPD leaders such as Finance Minister Hans Eichel warned in election flyers as late as March 1990 that those pushing for unity were political "arsonists." German unification took place amid huge celebrations on 3 October 1990.

"It is unfortunately true that for many people in the Red-Green German government reunification is an annoying obligation and has not been taken as an issue close to the heart," said Kohl in a Bild newspaper interview.

This, he said, explained the "disgraceful" attempt by Eichel last week to cancel the country's 3 October Unity Day Holiday.

The move, aimed at increasing the number of days worked each year to bolster the faltering economy, was swiftly ditched after furious opposition.

Kohl said such a proposal would have been "unthinkable" in countries like France or Poland.

The Berlin Wall was opened on 9 November 1989 by communist functionaries in bid to save the hardline state after months of protests led by the East German pro-democracy movement.

"Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Leipzig, Dresden and in other places at great personal risk to demonstrate for freedom," said Kohl, adding: "The courage and actions of our fellow citizens from East Germany are among the finest chapters of German history."

DPA

Subject: German news

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