Wolfgang Schäuble, one of the most influential figures in German and European politics, has died at the age of 81. A member of the conservative CDU party, he sat in Germany’s federal parliament (Bundestag) for 51 years. The one-time finance minister played a key role in negotiating German reunification after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and is regarded as a key actor in post-war democratic Germany. Sylvie Nantcha, chairperson of The African Network of Germany, pays tribute to the CDU leader as an advocate of diversity in the country
By Dr Sylvie Nantcha
“Wolfgang Schäuble, an icon of German politics, passed away on 26 December. I still remember how hard he fought for Germany to be accepted and recognised as a country of diversity. We often talked about it. What connected us was also Freiburg, my home town. Wolfgang Schäuble was born in the city and had studied at the University of Freiburg, just like me.
“It was a great honour for me not only to work alongside him on the state executive of the CDU Baden-Württemberg for four years, but also to take part in numerous meetings, conferences and events in Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg and Berlin.
“As Federal Minister of Finance, he played a decisive role during the global financial crisis by championing the European idea and economic stability.
“As Minister of the Interior, he made a significant contribution to Germany’s internal security and to shaping German reunification.
“In his last role as President of the German Bundestag, he defended democracy and strengthened parliamentarianism.
“His dedication to European unification, his integrity and his ability to make important decisions in times of crisis made him an unforgettable personality.
“Wolfgang Schäuble leaves behind a significant legacy in German and European politics.
“I am grateful for the intensive dialogue we had over the past 15 years. His contributions have shaped German history in many ways.
“Rest in peace, Wolfgang Schäuble. Your work will not be forgotten.”
Dr Sylvie Nantcha is a member of the CDU. She was once on the state executive board of the party in Baden-Württemberg and was for seven years a Councillor in the city of Freiburg.