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Hans Koschnick, former EU administrator in Bosnia and mayor of Bremen, dies aged 87

The committed Democrat has died overnight, according to members of Bremen's Senate. He was known for his down-to-earth nature and knack for political bridge-building.

Hans Koschnick, who was mayor of the northern city of Bremen from 1967 until 1985, died overnight at the age of 87, officials confirmed on Thursday.

A committed member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which he joined in 1950, Koschnick was known for his laid-back style and diplomatic nature.

"Hans Koschnick left an indelible mark thanks to his personality, his national character and his unwavering belief in the reconciliation and understanding possible among different people," said Carsten Sieling, the current mayor of Bremen.

Born in 1929, Koschnick was heavily influenced by his father, a trade unionist and oppositionist during the Nazi years. After becoming politically active during the postwar era, Koschnick became a member of Bremen's parliament in 1955 and later mayor in 1967.

A crusader for peace

Deutschland Hans Koschnick gestorben

Koschnick served as an EU administrator during the Yugoslav Wars

He oversaw a number of notable accomplishments during his time as mayor, including the founding of the University of Bremen and the expansion of jobs and industry in the city, including the construction of a Mercedes factory that created thousands of new jobs.

A growing divide between him and his party's leadership led Koschnick to resign in 1985 and subsequently join the Bundestag, the national parliament, in which he served until 1994.

In 1996, Koschnick became the EU administrator of the Bosnian city of Mostar during the Yugoslav Wars. During his time there, a group of Croatian nationalists reportedly tried to assassinate him.

During the last decade of his life, he continued to promote the principles of peace and reconciliation, becoming chairman of the association "Against Forgetting - For Democracy" and patron of the "Bremen Peace Prize." He lived in Bremen with his wife.

blc/jil (dpa. rb)

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