RIP former chancellor Helmut Kohl

The FFPE fully associates itself with the decision taken at the highest level to pay a solemn tribute to Chancellor Helmut Kohl on Saturday 1 July in Strasbourg.

There is no need to retrace Helmut Kohl's personal and political journey to understand that he was a true statesman, not only for Germany but for Europe as a whole!

Under his impulse, the European project knew its moment of glory, thanks also to the support of the French President and the then President of the Commission.

Without the German Chancellor, neither the single currency nor German reunification, which he saw as an extension of the European project, could have been achieved... The enlargement process would also have been much more difficult, if not uncertain.

Today Europe is at the crossroads and Euroscepticism continues to cast a disturbing shadow. The international context is increasingly uncertain, and the European Union is struggling to project its promises of peace, prosperity and freedom in a world where it weighs less and less economically.

However, Europe is not exhausted. We believe that the European project retains its strength and that it is up to us, within the Union's institutions, to rethink our modes of operation and methods in order to free creative energies and not to dilute creativity and enthusiasm. The scarcity of directives resulting from the "better regulation" agenda should not be offset by a multiplication of standards and controls of all kinds imposed on those who work on directives that are still deemed necessary...

The FFPE intends to take part in this fight alongside the institutions' officials and other staff. It will associate itself with any ambitious vision for Europe inspired by the approach and generosity of its founding fathers and their successors. To that end, our civil service, the indispensable backbone of the institutions and member states to ensure the continued success of the construction of a united Europe, must be preserved and strengthened.

That is why the FFPE fully endorses the 1 July tribute. More than ever, Europe must communicate more actively on its innumerable achievements and express its gratitude to those who have made it advance with courage and determination. Chancellor Kohl was one of them.