Helmut Kohl, chancellor who reunited Germany, dies at 87

The climate is still less friendly to foreigners in the east, according to a study by Leipzig University researchers who interviewed 16,000 Germans over 10 years.

In 2002, Kohl resigned from lower house of the parliament Bundestag and officially left politics.

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, there was no role model scenario Kohl and others were able to rely on.

"In such cases, a lot depends on the people taking decisions".

Mrs Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, tweeted: "In deep mourning for a great German and a great European".

"For Germans, he was a stroke of luck".

"Without Helmut Kohl, the euro would not exist", added Juncker.

In the message to Chancellor Angela Merkel and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Putin says "I genuinely admired his wisdom, his ability to make balanced, far-reaching decisions even in the most hard situations".

"I was fortunate to personally meet Helmut Kohl. I sincerely admired his wisdom and ability to take balanced and forward-thinking decisions even amid the knottiest situations", the Russian president said in the telegram. "In Russia, he will be remembered as a principled advocate of friendly relations between our countries", Putin said.

French President Emmanuel Macron says former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was "one of the great men of Europe and the free world" and that he "forged the unity of Europe" with former French President Francois Mitterrand.

In a poignant gesture of reconciliation in 1984, Kohl held hands with Mitterrand during a ceremony at a World War I cemetery in Verdun, France. Many young people in rural eastern Germany say they are forced to move to the west or to larger eastern cities because of a lack of competitive wages and job opportunities.

"Europe can never sink into war again", he said.

- 1994: Kohl's last national election victory. Kohl worked with other leaders on the continent to pull together the Treaty on European Union, which helped pave the way for the worldwide organization of today.

Kohl is also considered to be the architect of the Maastricht Treaty, which established the European Union.

Despite their differences, Merkel made clear on Friday that Kohl had touched her life deeply when he helped forge a united Germany. The party leaders hinted that Kohl's tenure was more productive than his successors Schröder and Merkel.

Still, the "blooming landscapes" that Kohl promised East German voters during reunification were slow to come after the collapse of its communist economy, and massive aid to the east pushed up German government debt.