Tú or usted form

I watched the memorial of Helmut Kohl on BBC form Strasbourg today. As one might expect there where many heads of states and dignitaries. One among them was I believe Felipe Gonzales. He spoke of course in Spanish and the English translation was read out for television audiences by a translator. At one point, he said something like “In a time that we needed you”.

In Spanish, there is of course the informal and formal “you” form. I did not hear witch form he used. I think one can find arguments for the use of both forms. Such as, Gonzales considered Helmut Kohl a good friend but it is a memorial of a distinguished politician.

So my question is which form is more likely to be used/should be used in this sort of scenario.

N.B.: I am familiar with the basics of using tú and usted, I am especially interested in hearing form a native speaker.

This is a tricky (and, thus, interesting) question. The chosen form depends on several factors. One of them is how they used to talk while Kohl was alive (notice that there’s also a similar distinction in German).
However, I’d say that “Usted” in this context would sound rather cold. “Tú” has a more “epic” tone to it in a context such as this. You refer to, say, war heroes in public homages with the “tú” form.

I am relieve to hear that because my gut feeling was towards tú.

To be honest I hardly know who Helmut Kohl was but what was striking to me was how many people was truly moved at the ceremony. Of course, the passing of any one is truly sad (especially for the ones who knew him), The BBC commentater pointed out that Gonzales was a (and I presume) a socialist (left wing) and Kohl was a conservative (right wing) yet Gonzalez was a good friend of him, he was able to see beyond the party lines. I found Bill Clintons speech moving, one of the BBC staff members commented something to the effect that this shows how good of a public speaker Bill Clinton is. I was born in 1990 so Bill Clinton is the first US president that I have a recollection of hearing of while he was in office. I did not know much about Helmut Kohl but everyone that gave an eulogy seemed very moved and at the board of tears. I especially liked Clintons opening remark of his speech that Helmut Kohl was someone that encourage him to try new food (not this original words) later on he connects the opening remark with that he was a very open minded person, that he tried to see the point of view of the other person (this is a interpretation of the meaning of his (Clintons) speech. The first German leader that I can remember of hearing about while in office is Gerhard Schroder. Another philosophical remark that made me think, was that he was someone who believed that nothing is unachievable.

Good intuition, then! Congratulations. I found a transcript of the relevant paragraph in the Spanish online press. It does confirm our assumption:

“Perdemos a un gran europeísta, un amigo con el que he compartido momentos históricos para Alemania, España, Europa y el mundo”, ha dicho González. “Dejarás un vacío político que llenará tu recuerdo, tu determinación y un relato histórico de lo que fue tu esfuerzo y tu vida. Para personas como yo dejarás el vacío de una amistad largamente trabada en momentos históricos. No te olvidaremos. Helmut, cuenta con nuestra amistad”.