Council of Europe (CoE) - European Human Rights Court - founding fathers (1949)

Council of Europe (CoE) - European Human Rights Court - founding fathers (1949)
French National Assembly head Edouard Herriot and British Foreign minister Ernest Bevin surrounded by Italian, Luxembourg and other delegates at the first meeting of Council of Europe's Consultative Assembly in Strasbourg, August 1949 (AFP Photo)

EU founding fathers signed 'blank' Treaty of Rome (1957)

EU founding fathers signed 'blank' Treaty of Rome (1957)
The Treaty of Rome was signed in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, one of the Renaissance palaces that line the Michelangelo-designed Capitoline Square in the Italian capital

Shuttered: EU ditches summit 'family photo'

Shuttered: EU ditches summit 'family photo'
EU leaders pose for a family photo during the European Summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels on June 28, 2016 (AFP Photo/JOHN THYS)

Merkel says fall of Wall proves 'dreams can come true'


“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013. They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Monday, July 31, 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo denies tax fraud at court hearing

Yahoo – AFP, Benjamin BOULY RAMES, July 31, 2017

Portugal and Real Madrid player Cristiano Ronaldo is the world's highest paid
athlete, according to Forbes magazine

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo denied hiding millions of euros in income at a court hearing near the Spanish capital on Monday where he was charged with tax evasion.

The Portuguese -- the world's highest paid sportsman according to Forbes magazine -- is the latest football star to fall foul of Spain's taxman.

He follows in the footsteps of his arch-rival, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, who was found guilty of the same offence last year.

"I have never hidden anything, nor have I had the intention of evading taxes," Ronaldo, 32, told the court, according to a statement from the sports agency which represents him, Gestifute.

"I always voluntarily file my tax returns because I think we all must file a return and pay taxes according to our income. Those that know me, know what I ask my advisors: that they have everything up to date and properly paid, because I don't want problems."

Accused of having evaded 14.7 million euros ($17.3 million) in tax, he entered and left the court in Pozuelo de Alarcon, a wealthy suburb of Madrid where he lives, via an underground garage to avoid the press.

Prosecutors allege he took "advantage of a company structure created in 2010 to hide income generated in Spain from his image rights from tax authorities".

The world's highest-paid sports personalities in 2016 (Forbes magazine)

They say this was a "voluntary and conscious breach of his fiscal obligations in Spain".

Prosecutors accuse the four-time world player of the year of evading tax via a shell company based in the British Virgin Islands and another in Ireland, known for low corporate tax rates.

In addition, they say the Real Madrid striker only declared 11.5 million euros of Spanish-related income from 2011 to 2014, while what he really earned during that time was close to 43 million euros.

They also accuse him of "voluntarily" refusing to include 28.4 million euros in income linked to the sale of his image rights for the 2015 to 2020 period to a Spanish company.

'Legal and legitimate'

Ronaldo told the court he did not create a "special structure" to manage his image rights when he moved to Real in 2009 but simply maintained the one set up in 2004 while he was at Manchester United "long before I thought of coming to Spain".

This structure had been deemed "legal and legitimate" by the British tax office.

The affair has taken its toll on Ronaldo.

According to press reports, Real's all-time top goalscorer threatened to leave Spain over the affair, giving supporters a fright.

He has since decided to stay on, according to Real coach Zinedine Zidane.

If he were put on trial and found guilty, Ronaldo would risk "a fine of at least 28 million" euros and could potentially be jailed for three and a half years, the Gestha union of experts at Spain's Inland Revenue has said.

Since extending his contract last November until 2021, Ronaldo is the highest paid sports star in the world with $93 million earned in 2016-2017, according to Forbes.

Ronaldo is not the only footballer to fall foul of authorities in Spain, which is only just recovering from a damaging economic crisis that saw countless people lose their jobs and inequalities rise.

Messi was sentenced to a 21-month jail sentence and 2.09 million-euro fine last year for tax fraud.

His prison sentence has since been replaced by another fine of 252,000 euros, which corresponds to 400 euros for each day of jail.

Barcelona's Argentine defender Javier Mascherano, meanwhile, agreed a one-year suspended sentence with authorities for tax fraud last year.

Brazil star Neymar, another Barcelona forward, and his parents are also due to stand trial for alleged corruption over his transfer from Santos in 2013.

Real have not been spared either.

Apart from Ronaldo, former player Angel di Maria, Portuguese defender Fabio Coentrao and Jose Mourinho, who coached the club from 2010 to 2013, have all been accused of tax fraud.

All are clients of super-agent Jorge Mendes, who was also questioned and put under official investigation last month by a Spanish court investigating alleged tax evasion by Monaco's former Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao, another footballer in his stable.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

EU warns could halt Polish voting rights over court reforms

Yahoo – AFP, 26 July 2017

Protesters demonstrate in front of the Polish Supreme Court in Warsaw on
July 23, 2017

The EU will "immediately" take steps to halt Poland's voting rights in the bloc if it pushes through with controversial reforms of the country's top court, European Commission vice president Frans Timmermans said Wednesday.

Timmermans said he welcomed the fact that Polish President Andrzej Duda had vetoed two judicial reforms introduced by the right-wing government, including the Supreme Court overhaul, but noted that two other laws had already been passed.

"The commission's recommendation asks the Polish authorities not to take any measure to dismiss or force the retirement of supreme court judges. If such a measure is taken the commission is ready to immediately trigger the Article 7 procedure," Timmermans said.

Article 7 is a never-before-used EU process that is designed to uphold the rule of law, a so-called "nuclear option" that can freeze a country's right to vote in meetings of EU ministers.

Polish President Andrzej Duda unexpectedly vetoed two controversial court reforms

Dutchman Timmermans said that Brussels was still putting Warsaw on notice amid continuing fears that the Polish government's reforms could jeopardise the independence of the judiciary.

"In this past week some things have changed in Poland -- and some things have not," Timmermans said after European Commissioner met to discuss the issue for the second week in a row.

"We must acknowledge and welcome that President Duda has announced his decision to veto two of the four laws," he said.

"However the fact that two of the four laws have been signed, and that work will continue on the other two, means that we must set out clearly our concern" in a fresh legal recommendation, he added.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Froome wins fourth Tour de France, 'honoured' to be with greats

Yahoo – AFP, CHESTERMAN, Jul 23, 2017

Great Britain's Chris Froome (C) flashes victory signs during the twenty-first and
last stage of the Tour de France on July 23, 2017 (AFP Photo/Jeff PACHOUD)

Paris (AFP) - Briton Chris Froome secured his fourth Tour de France title at the end of the 21st and final stage won by Dylan Groenewegen on Sunday and said it was a huge honour to be amongst cycling's greats.

Sky's Froome had previously won the 2013, 2015 and 2016 editions and sits fifth overall in the all-time list of Tour victors behind five-time winners Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.

"It's a huge honour to be talked about in the same sentence as those guys with their place in the history of the Tour de France," 32-year-old Froome, who will aim to match them next year, told ITV4.

"It is just a privilege to even be in the position to be going for that kind of record.

"Each time I've won the Tour it's so unique and so different and it is such a different battle to get to this moment.

"So they're all special in their own ways and this year I think will be remembered for being the closest and most hard-fought battle between the GC rivals."

At the end of three weeks, 21 stages and more than 3,500km, Froome rolled over the line on the Champs Elysees in Paris with a broad grin alongside his Sky team-mates, who wore a special kit for the occasion with their usual blue stripe replaced by a yellow one.

A look at the record of multiple Tour de France winner Chris Froome
(AFP Photo/Paul DEFOSSEUX)

It was Froome's closest Tour struggle yet as his final winning margin was less than a minute for the first time, Colombia's Rigoberto Uran finishing second at 54sec with Romain Bardet of France, the runner-up last year, third at 2min 20sec.

The 103km final stage began with a nod to history in Montgeron, where the very first stage of the inaugural Tour in 1903 also began, at a leisurely pace giving Froome, his team-mates and the winners of the other distinctive jerseys the chance to celebrate with glasses of champagne as they rode out of the town and towards the French capital.

By the time they got there the tempo had risen to the opposite scale of the spectrum and it was a full pelt bunch that rode to the finish, where 24-year-old Groenewegen struck out for home from a long way out and held off the hard-charging Andre Greipel, winner on the Champs Elysees in the previous two years, with Edvald Boasson Hagen third.

'Perfect'

"This is an amazing place for the sprinters. To win on the Champs-Elysees makes it a perfect day," said Dutchman Groenewegen of the Lotto NL Jumbo team.

Colombia's Rigoberto Uran (L), Great Britain's Christopher Froome (C) and 
France's Romain Bardet celebrate on the podium on the Champs-Elysees 
avenue in Paris on July 23, 2017 (AFP Photo/Jeff PACHOUD)

"This is my first stage win at the Tour. When I was young, I was looking at the Champs-Elysees stage on TV. Now I'm the winner here, it's wonderful."

It was the biggest victory of Groenewegen's young career but the day undoubtedly belonged to Froome.

"It feels amazing. The Champs Elysees never disappoints, it's something magical," said Froome.

"When you've spent three weeks thinking about being here in this moment, it is so rewarding every time."

Alongside the yellow jersey winner, Australia's Michael Matthews won the sprinters' green points jersey, France's Warren Barguil triumphed in the polkadot king of the mountains competition and Simon Yates of Britain succeeded twin brother Adam as the best young rider in the white jersey.

Froome's Sky finished as the best team having claimed the yellow helmets on the first stage in Dusseldorf three weeks ago and never relinquished their lead in the competition, which they won for the first time despite claiming the yellow jersey in five of the last six years.

The last remaining prize went to Barguil, a winner of two stages, who was named the most combative rider of the Tour.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Macron puts France top of 'soft power' rankings: survey

Yahoo – AFP, Guy JACKSON, July 18, 2017

France has leapfrogged the United States and Britain as the world's top so-called
soft power, helped by the election of President Emmanuel Macron, a study of
countries' non-military global influence showed (AFP Photo/IAN LANGSDON)

Paris (AFP) - France has leapfrogged the United States and Britain as the world's top so-called soft power, helped by the election of President Emmanuel Macron, a study of countries' non-military global influence showed Tuesday.

While France has risen, Donald Trump's ascent to the White House has seen the US slip from the top last year to third place in the Soft Power 30 study, compiled by PR company Portland Communications and the University of Southern California.

Soft power measures a country's ability to secure international alliances and influence others through its attraction and appeal.

The study uses polling in 25 countries and digital data to measure a country's influence.

It takes into account factors such as the ability of countries to attract foreign students to its universities and tourists, as well as its cultural allure.

France's rapid rise from fifth place last year, when it was in the doldrums under unpopular ex-president Francois Hollande, is partly due to the centrist Macron's election in May.

But the country's diplomatic reach also played a key role.

"France's greatest strength lies in its vast diplomatic network," the study says.

"It is unrivalled in terms of membership to multilateral and international organisations, as well as in its diplomatic cultural missions.

"With Macron having long campaigned for cooperation and integration, it is not unreasonable to expect France’s global engagement and influence to grow."

France also remains the world's top tourist destination, the report said.

The terror attacks that have cost the lives of more than 230 people since 2015 "have not stopped tourists flocking to France and enjoying its rich cultural offering, cuisine, and lifestyle," the report says.

The top five countries by order are France, Britain, US, Germany and Canada. Japan has risen to sixth place from seventh, Switzerland is seventh and Australia slips to eighth.

The survey attributes the US decline -- it has slipped from first last year to third -- to a deterioration of "global sentiment" as a result of Trump's "America First" policy.

The US was still "unrivalled" in higher education, technological innovation and the production of film, music and TV, it pointed out.

Britain loses influence

Meanwhile, the report's authors warn that Britain's fall -- it was top of the rankings last year -- "should serve as a warning of what is likely to come for post-Brexit British influence".

With negotiations under way for Britain to leave the European Union within two years, the report says: "It is hard to imagine the direction of travel for British soft power... will be upwards in the future."

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Amsterdam sweetens the pill with new building offer for European Medicines Agency

DutchNews, July 12, 2017


Amsterdam has made its official pitch to persuade the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to relocate from London to Amsterdam. Among the sweeteners was the promise of a new purpose-built office building in the city’s Zuidas business district, the Volkskrant reported on Wednesday. 

The competition to land the EMA has been compared to the Eurovision Song Contest, in that 18 cities are vying for a prize that will be announced in November. Amsterdam’s presentation in Brussels was headed by caretaker health minister Edith Schippers along with Amsterdam deputy mayor Kajsa Ollongren and ‘special ambassador’ Wouter Bos. 

Bos, a former finance minister, is now chairman of the VU University Medical Centre, and is known for saying: ‘May the best candidate win, and I am convinced that it is Amsterdam.’ 

The Dutch government said it would finance a €250m to €300m building for the EMA, which would then pay the market rate for the space. 

Ollongren said no special deals – low or no rent – would be on offer. She added these deals were unnecessary in Amsterdam, citing the Zuidas’s fast links to Schiphol airport, the availability of hotel rooms, expat help for EMA staffers and their partners and plans to increase the number of places in nearby international schools. 

For his part, Bos will visit the necessary European capitals to convince officials there that Amsterdam is the best location for the EMA. 

The EMA is a decentralised agency of the EU, which began operations in 1995. It is responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies for use in the EU. The agency has a workforce of some 900 people, mainly highly skilled, from all over Europe. 

Lille, Brussels, Copenhagen Stockholm, Dublin, Barcelona and Milan are among the other cities hoping to attract the EMA.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Japan, EU seal landmark trade deal in challenge to Trump

Yahoo – AFP, Alex PIGMAN, July 6, 2017

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker arrives at the European
Council in Brussels on July 6, 2017 (AFP Photo/Aurore BELOT)

Brussels (AFP) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and top EU officials agreed Thursday to the broad outline of a landmark trade deal, presented as a direct challenge to the protectionism championed by US President Donald Trump.

The breakthrough capped four years of talks and came on the eve of a G20 meeting in Germany at which Trump is expected to defend his "America First" stance on world trade.

"Today we agreed in principle on an Economic Partnership Agreement (with Japan), the impact of which goes far beyond our shores," European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said at a joint press conference with Abe and EU President Donald Tusk in Brussels.

The EU and Japanese economies combined account for more than a quarter of global output, making the deal one of the biggest trade pacts ever.

"We were able to demonstrate a strong political will so that the EU and Japan take the lead on free trade,", Abe said just hours before he was due to meet Trump at the G20 in Hamburg.

Cars for cheese

With the deal, the EU is seeking access to one of the world's richest markets, while Japan hopes to jump-start an economy that has struggled to find solid growth for more than a decade.

Japan is also hoping to seize an opportunity after the failure of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), torpedoed in January by Trump.

EU President Donald Tusk (left), Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (centre) 
and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on July 6, 2017
(AFP Photo/FRANCOIS WALSCHAERTS)

The "political agreement" on the trade deal covers some of the accord's toughest aspects but leaves aside details that could still prove difficult.

At the heart of the deal is an agreement for the EU to open its market to the world-leading Japanese auto industry, with Tokyo in return scrapping barriers to EU farming products, especially dairy.

EU officials insist that the deal will be a major boon for European farmers who would gain access to a huge market that appreciates European products.

'Corporate protectionism'

Left untouched for now is the issue of controversial investment courts which have stoked opposition to trade deals in the EU nations, including Germany and France.

"After hard negotiations, the EU and Japan are sending a very positive signal to the world," said Markus J. Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope, a Brussels-based lobby.

"We are asking the G20 to take action against protectionism and this is a concrete example of how this could be done," he added.

Anti-free trade activists meanwhile furiously criticised the mooted deal, calling it a dangerous sop to multinationals.

"This trade deal, and others like it, smack of corporate protectionism at the expense of democracy and the environment," Greenpeace trade campaigner Kees Kodde.

Last year, the EU's giant CETA trade deal with Canada nearly sank on such concerns when the small Belgian region of Wallonia threatened to veto it, before eventually relenting.

Most opposition is centered on the investment courts, a controversial measure designed to resolve commercial disputes.

They have come under fierce opposition in Europe and the EU is trying -- so far unsuccessfully -- to persuade partners to adopt a new system staffed by public officials.

Divisions within the EU over the issue could prove significant when the EU-Japan deal faces ratification in the bloc's more than 30 regional and national parliaments.

EU officials said they hoped to implement the deal in January 2019.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Britain, US 'turning inward', Canadian PM says in Ireland

Yahoo – AFP, July 4, 2017

Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, left, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau at Farmleigh, Ireland's state guest house, in Dublin (AFP Photo/Paul FAITH)

Dublin (AFP) - Britain and the United States are "turning inward," Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a press conference with his Irish counterpart on Tuesday in which both leaders took swipes at their heavyweight neighbours.

Trudeau also said during a visit to Dublin that there were "clear disagreements" with the United States ahead of the G20 summit this week, where US President Donald Trump is expected to attend.

"The choices made by the United States on trade and climate change are at odds with the majority of G20 countries, or even all the other G20 countries," he said after talks with Ireland's Leo Varadkar.

Trudeau predicted that there would be "robust and honest exchanges about how to serve not only our citizens but the whole planet" at the summit, while adding that such meetings were also a chance to try to find "common ground".

The United States and Canada are locked in a trade dispute, with the US accusing Canada of exporting its products at unfairly low "dumping" prices.

Canada is also a major supporter of the Paris Agreement to combat global warming, which Trump has said he wants to pull out of.

Both leaders issued thinly veiled criticism of their neighbours' politics.

"There are tremendous opportunities for countries like Canada and Ireland, at a time where perhaps our significant allies and trading partners in the case of both the US and the UK are turning inward or at least turning into a different direction," Trudeau said.

The sentiment was echoed by Varadkar, who reiterated his country's commitment to the European Union as it prepares for Britain's exit from the bloc.

"We each share a relationship with a very big neighbour, a neighbour that has to a certain extent decided to go in a different direction at least for the time being," he said.

Varadkar said that "unfortunately" Britain had chosen to leave the European Union and would not be able to negotiate free-trade agreements like the one between Canada and the EU until it has officially left.

"I can't see a scenario where Britain could remain a member of the EU, even in transitional period, and then negotiate other trade deals on their own".

Varadkar, the son of an Indian migrant and Ireland's first openly gay prime minister, said he and Trudeau had discussed a wide range of issues, including the benefits of immigration and diversity.

"Both countries and both governments are committed to multilateralism as the best means by which we can solve the world's problems," Varadkar said.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Europe pays tribute to Helmut Kohl, 'a giant' of post-war history

Yahoo - AFP, Christian SPILLMANN, July 1, 2017

Leaders gather in France to pay homage to former German chancellor
Helmut Kohl, who died June 16

European leaders joined former US president Bill Clinton on Saturday to pay tribute to former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, who oversaw the German reunification and the end of the Cold War, but a family row marred his funeral in Germany.

Kohl was a founder of modern-day Europe and served as chancellor from 1982 to 1998. He died on June 16 aged 87.

"A giant of the post-war period has left us," European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said in an oration in the French city of Strasbourg, where the European Parliament is located, in French and German.

"Helmut Kohl was not just the architect of German unity. He contributed substantially, more than others, to the reconciliation between European history and European geography," adding that without Kohl "Europe would not have the euro."

On Kohl's watch, the pro-Western and pro-Soviet states of West and East Germany reunified after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, becoming one of the stablest and most prosperous democracies in the world.

With former French president Francois Mitterrand, Kohl also drove the expansion and integration of the EU.

Together, they helped to open up its membership to fledgling democracies of the former Soviet bloc, create the euro single currency and ripped away internal border controls.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had a difficult relationship with Kohl, 
her one-time mentor

Merkel moved

Kohl's successor and one-time protege, Angela Merkel, struggled to rein in her emotions as she hailed "the chancellor of unification."

"Without Helmut Kohl, the life of millions of people, mine included, who lived on the other side of the wall, would not be what it is today," she declared.

French President Emmanuel Macron said: "Helmut Kohl was a privileged partner for France, an essential ally, but he was also more than that, he was a friend,"

"We are here to salute his mark on history."

The EU flag of 12 gold stars on a blue background was draped over the coffin, which was placed in the chamber of the European Parliament by a phalanx of eight German soldiers.

Three wreaths were placed in front of the casket -- one in the colours of the Federal Republic of Germany, the other in the name of the EU, and the third in the name of Kohl's wife Maike Kohl-Richter, bearing a simple inscription: "In Liebe, deine Meike" (With love, Maike).

The choice of Strasbourg for the ceremony carried great symbolic weight.

A city on the Rhine border with Germany, Strasbourg is located in a region that once was bloodily contested by France and Germany.

Its location is an emblem of the post-war reconciliation between the two former enemies that was fostered by the EU.

The parliament building was ringed by steel for the ceremony, with more than 2,000 police on duty.

Kohl's coffin was then taken by boat down the Rhine to the southwest German town of Speyer for his funeral service.

It was draped in the black, red and gold flag of Germany, with the eagle of the federal republic at its centre.

Family row

Kohl's funeral started at around 1600 GMT in the cathedral of the southeastern city of Speyer. About 1,500 people were invited to the mass, which will be followed by a military tribute.

But his sons and their families boycotted the funeral.

Kohl's elder son Walter had criticised his second wife Maike, who is 34 years younger than Kohl, for spurning the offer of a state funeral in Germany. The pair married when he was 78.

One of the reasons for her refusal was lingering anger at Merkel for her treatment of her former mentor.

Merkel ousted Kohl from the leadership of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and urged the party to drop him when he became embroiled in a party funding scandal.

Walter Kohl had wanted his father's coffin to be taken to the German capital for "a national homage, an ecumenical requiem and a military farewell ceremony" near the Brandenburg Gate, where the German leader witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Because of a long-running feud with his stepmother, who jealously guards her husband's political legacy, Walter Kohl had not had contact with his father for many years and said he learned of his death from a radio report.