Veteran of German politics Wolfgang Schaeuble dies at 81 | EUROtoday

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Wolfgang Schaeuble, who served as a member of the German parliament for over half a century, has died aged 81, ending one among Germany’s longest political careers by which he helped safe his nation’s place on the coronary heart of Europe.

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Schaeuble devoted a lot of his profession to re-unifying his nation and later served as former chancellor Angela Merkel’s finance minister in the course of the eurozone debt disaster. He died peacefully late on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU) mentioned on Wednesday.

Schaeuble was born in 1942 within the southern metropolis of Freiburg and had been a member of parliament with out interruption since 1972.

“Germany has lost a formative Christian Democrat who loved to argue and yet never lost sight of what politics is all about: making life better for citizens,” mentioned German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a press release.

As inside minister, Schaeuble, who represented the West, was key in drawing up the phrases of Germany’s reunification treaty, signed in August 1990, after the autumn of the Berlin wall.

“He epitomised post-war democratic Germany like few others,” mentioned Interior Minister Nancy Faeser.

The CDU praised Schaeuble’s dedication to stability and duty in monetary issues, saying “his legacy will live on in the annals of German and European history”.

As finance minister, Schaeuble pulled the strings of Germany’s coverage response to the euro zone disaster, securing assist on the precise of Merkel’s conservative bloc for 3 Greek bailouts.

That dedication bordering on intransigence helped make him the preferred German politician at residence and probably the most hated overseas, incomes him the soubriquet – bestowed by information journal Spiegel – of “chancellor behind the scenes”.

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, who was outspoken in his criticism of the austerity insurance policies championed by Berlin on the top of the debt disaster, mentioned on Wednesday that historical past would decide Schaeuble harshly.

“Wolfgang Schaeuble was the embodiment of the political project of buttressing a monetary union in which he himself did not believe,” wrote Varoufakis on his web site.

However, reward for his contributions got here from throughout Europe, together with from leaders in France, Slovakia, the Netherlands and Italy.

“Europe loses one of its staunch supporters,” mentioned Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani on X.

Schaeuble served as finance minister till 2017, when he took over as president of the Bundestag decrease parliamentary home, exhibiting the identical focus that noticed him adapt to paralysis after being shot 3 times at an election marketing campaign occasion a couple of days after German reunification in 1990.

While that drive received him the respect of fellow conservatives and lawmakers from different events, his profession was not with out setbacks.

For a time within the Nineteen Nineties, Schaeuble was thought of the anointed successor to former conservative chancellor Helmut Kohl. As head of the CDU in 1998 following Kohl’s election loss, Schaeuble had named Merkel as his deputy.

However, it was a pairing that may final lower than a yr and a half: Merkel was instrumental in forcing him to resign the CDU management in 2000 after a funding scandal, with Merkel taking up and ultimately serving as chancellor in 2005.

“We will miss Wolfgang Schaeuble’s voice in Germany, I will personally miss his advice,” mentioned Merkel in a press release. “I mourn the loss of a politician who shaped our country in many ways.”