Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was in attendance as former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was laid to rest over the weekend in Strasbourg.
The prime minister recalled meeting Chancellor Kohl when he was first elected in 1998. At one point in their conversation the prime minister asked the Kohl about the place of morals in politics. In response, Kohl said that whatever is good in your private life is good in politics, and whatever is bad in your private life is also bad in politics.
PM Orbán added that his generation was shepherded by Helmut Kohl “with the love of a grandfather”, and that there is a single secure location on which a Europe of values can be built, and that location is Christianity.
He added that in the 1990s Helmut Kohl had convinced him that the “old greats” were right when they said that Europe would be Christian or it would be nothing.
“If we have leaders who prove to be strong in character when the times demand it, Europe will have a future; if not, we’ll remain as we are today, in this present state of paralysis," PM Orbán said, referring to the late Chancellor
Prior to his death, Kohl had requested that European leaders pay him a final tribute, and they congregated around his coffin in the plenary hall of the European Parliament.
The former chancellor has been attributed as the driving force behind European unity and requested his coffin be draped in the blue and gold EU flag.
Eight German soldiers carried his casket into the center of the chamber, where members from each 28 states paid their respects.
Despite the honor of attending the service and the request of the chancellor's widow that the prime minister be invited to speak, PM Orbán was not included in the speaking program, it was reported.
"When one buries a great man – and now an enormous oak tree has fallen – any kind of gossip or jostling for position at a memorial ceremony is bound to be unseemly. One should never take part in anything like that," PM Orbán said.