It was 30 years ago

Helmut Kohl and François Mitterrand speak to the European Parliament

Anxious to welcome this great step forward for freedom in Europe and comment on the fall of the Berlin Wall and its geopolitical repercussions, European Parliament President Enrique Barón Crespo invited both German Chancellor Helmut Kohn and French President François Mitterrand, who was President of the European Council at the time, to speak before the MEPs in Strasbourg.

On 22 November 1989, in the presence of European Commission President Jacques Delors, Helmut Kohl and François Mitterrand presented their view of the recent events in Berlin and Eastern Europe. It was a historic and emotional moment. Both speakers reiterated the will of the twelve countries’ heads of state or government to support the democratic reform movement in this part of Europe. Certain that the European Community’s successes had been a deciding factor and an incentive for the events that had recently taken place in Central l and Eastern Europe, they emphasised the need for the Community to strengthen its internal structures and find new ways to be able to grow. In fact, the European Parliament was the first Community institution to openly discuss a possible German reunification and the prospect of Central and Eastern European countries joining the European Community. The implications for foreign and security policy, particularly regarding Germany’s eastern borders, were also discussed.