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Merkel and EU must allow Britain time to sort itself out, warns ex German chancellor Helmut Kohl as he insists slamming door on UK would be a ‘giant mistake’

  • Former chancellor Helmut Kohl was leading driver of European integration
  • He said bloc should show greater respect for national identities in Europe
  • The 86-year-old said it would be ‘a giant mistake’ to slam doors on Britain

Kohl, the mentor of current leader Angela Merkel, said the bloc should show greater respect for national identities in Europe – and not impose too much standardisation on member states.

The 86-year-old, who is in poor health, was the architect of German reunification and a leading driver of European integration.

Helmut Kohl, the mentor of current leader Angela Merkel, said the bloc should show greater respect for national identities in Europe - and not impose too much standardisation on member states

The EU must allow Britain time to sort itself out, according to former German chancellor Helmut Kohl after he insisted slamming the door on the UK would be a 'giant mistake'

Germany’s mass-selling daily Bild did not directly quote Kohl in its interview, which was headlined ‘Helmut Kohl – Europe needs to pause for breath’, but paraphrased him as saying it would be ‘a giant mistake’ to slam the doors on Britain.

‘He pleaded for calm and warned against (acting towards Britain with) unnecessary toughness and haste … The most important thing is for the country itself to decide what it wants,’ Bild quoted Kohl as saying.

Kohl, a Christian Democrat, served as chancellor from 1982 to 1998, working closely with France’s socialist president Francois Mitterrand to push the EU towards monetary and economic integration, including the introduction of the euro currency.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets Bosnia and Herzegovina politician Bakir Izetbegovic in Berlin today

Kohl oversaw German reunification after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and was the mentor of Angela Merkel, who has led Germany since 2005 and is Europe's most powerful leader

He oversaw German reunification after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and was the mentor of Angela Merkel, who has led Germany since 2005 and is Europe’s most powerful leader.

Merkel has also urged the EU to give Britain time to sort through its political mess before the start of formal talks on its exit and the terms of its future relationship with the bloc.

Kohl said Britain’s vote for exit, or Brexit, was not a purely British phenomenon but reflected general ‘unease’ among Europeans. The EU needs to take a step back before slowly taking two steps forward at a speed that is manageable for all member states, he added.

Kohl has been wheelchair-bond since suffering a fall in 2008. Last year he was hospitalised for several months after hip replacement surgery.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3667663/Germanys-Kohl-tells-EU-dont-pressure-UK-Brexit-vote.html

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