Speaking on the fringes of the German-Brazilian intergovernmental consultations, Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement today (20 August) on the death of Egon Bahr:
It is with deep sadness that I have just learnt of the death of Egon Bahr.
Very few politicians are granted the gift of being able to change the world with an idea and of living to see their own vision become reality. Egon Bahr was one of these few. His ideas of a radically new Ostpolitik and of “change through rapprochement” literally changed the course of history and made German and European unification at all possible.
Throughout his long and fulfilled life, Egon Bahr was convinced that there can only be lasting peace in Europe with Russia, not without.
Egon Bahr's opinions and advice were sought and valued to the very end. Indeed, till recently, I myself frequently discussed the threat of the division of the European continent with him. I was always profoundly impressed by the unmistakeable mixture of wisdom and skill, patience and determination with which he fought for his convictions and actually succeeded in changing the world.
In Egon Bahr we have lost a great human being and a great politician. I will miss him both as a friend and as an example to follow.