HELMUT Kohl, the chancellor who reunified Germany and pushed the country into the euro, praised on Friday the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union as "wise and far-sighted".
"The Nobel Peace Prize for the EU is above all a confirmation of the European peace project," said the 82-year-old, Germany's last leader to have lived through the whole of World War Two.
"It is also encouragement for all of us, to continue on the path to a united Europe, that is to say, to stick to the ever closer ties on our continent and to develop Europe, despite some difficulties and problems which must yet be overcome."
Kohl, who today is frail and wheelchair-bound, was a driving force, along with French President Francois Mitterrand, behind the creation of the euro.
"As Europeans we all have reason to be proud today. I am proud, and I wish for God's blessing for us on our further path to a united Europe," he said.