LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany—Helmut Kohl, frail and confined to a wheelchair, returned to public view this week, imploring his countrymen not to abandon the goal he spent his political life pursuing: a united Europe.RTWT.
"Today, I am convinced more than ever that European unification is a question of war and peace for Europe and for us, and the euro is part of our guarantee of peace," the former chancellor, his voice uneven and raspy, told guests at a celebration for his 80th birthday.
As Chancellor Angela Merkel looked on, Mr. Kohl issued a thinly veiled critique of her reluctance to help Greece, saying he couldn't understand "people who act as if Greece doesn't matter." Of course the situation is difficult, but Germany must pull out all the stops, he said, drawing applause from the crowd.
The scene underscored the threat Greece's turmoil poses to monetary union, the grandest expression of the European continent's drive toward integration. Mr. Kohl led the unification drive two decades ago. Now the increasingly disruptive debt problems in Greece and elsewhere post the question: What price is Germany willing to pay to save Europe?
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