Statement on death of Egon Bahr

Statement on death of Egon Bahr

Today the European Socialist and Democratic family is mourning one of its great figureheads. Egon Bahr, father of Ostpoolitik, close confidante of SPD Chancellor Willy Brandt and former Federal Minister has died at the age of 93.

Sergei Stanishev, President of the Party of European Socialists responded to the sad news:

European social democracy has today lost a great man, who through his analytic brilliance and steadfast beliefs, changed the course of history. As the father of Ostpolitik Egon Bahr played a major role in re-establishing links between the West and the East during the Cold War and through dialogue, bringing peace to Europe. Together with Willy Brandt, he was instrumental in easing tensions and encouraging renewed dialogue between the two blocks.

“The German, and European social democrat movements, as well as European democracy itself, owe much to his work and we will continue to work to honour his memory. Our united European Union, and the lives of people in Central and Eastern Europe, would not be what they are without his influence.”

“The legacy of his fight for peace and détente in the continent are all the more relevant today, where the crisis in Ukraine is jeopardizing peace and security in Europe. We are committed to continuing the legacy left by Egon Bahr and to building a constructive dialogue with Russia to ensure long-term stability and cooperation on the European continent.”

The President of PES Women Zita Gurmai added:

‘The loss of Egon Bahr will be felt throughout our political family. He played a key role in making Europe what it is now, through his work to unite East and West. He did not just live through the 20th century – he changed the course of it. I send my condolences to his family and to his wider political family in the SPD.’

The PES President Sergei Stanishev sent a letter of condolence to SPD comrades on behalf of the whole of the PES.