Former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt will give a lecture in Moscow today entitled Problems of a global world and Russia. The event is being organised by the newspaper Russia in global politics and the Russian Council for foreign and defense policy. After the lecture the audience will have the opportunity to ask Mr Schmidt questions.
Helmut Schmidt was chancellor of Germany from 1974 to 1982. Before this he fought in the Second World War, became a prisoner of war in Britain, worked in the Social Democratic party with Willie Brandt and became the German leader after a serious in-party crisis. In 1986 Mr Schmidt and former French president Valerie Giscaird d'Estaing set up a committee to promote the introduction of a single European currency and initiated the idea of a Central European Bank. Mr Schmidt's ideas lay at the heart of European integration and his efforts culminated in the introduction of the euro as a single European currency in 2002. Mr Schmidt has always advocated closer relations with Russia and supported the 'Eastern policy' of Willie Brandt. Despite being a convinced anti-communist, he did not succumb to US demands to limit the supply of Soviet gas to Germany and Western Europe during the Cold War period in the nineteen eighties. Thanks to Mr Schmidt economic ties between the USSR and the West were strengthened and these ties are the foundation of Russia-EU relations today.
Mr Schmidt remained in the Bundestag after leaving government and from 1993 onwards he has been editor of the German newspaper Die Zeit, the leading intellectual newspaper in Germany. He left parliament altogether in 1987 and became an independent researcher into international relations. The former chancellor's books on the subject such as Strategy for the West, Germany and its neighbours, Searching for social morality and Globalisation have always caused wide interest.