I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of my friend Heiner Geißler for not only have I lost a friend, but Europe has lost a visionary leader.
Heiner Geißler influenced the thinking of a great many people. He was a Christian Democrat in the truest sense. Whether as Minister for the Family or as a politician working on social issues, his conduct and his political achievements bore the stamp of Christian values.
Social responsibility lay close to Heiner Geißler's heart. He was prepared to make waves and fight for his views, while at the same time striving for social peace. He also made a big contribution in the role of mediator. Right to the end he urged us to put solidarity and compassion at the heart of our action. We must continue to heed those words.
I extend my sincere condolences to his family and friends.