Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt in Europe

Life and Work of Helmut Schmidt (1918-)

The Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union describes helmut schmidt (1918-) in the following terms: [1] Helmut Schmidt became German chancellor in 1974 as head of a centre-left coalition in which his own party, the Social Democrats, was the senior partner. His friendship with Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (who also became French president in 1974) formed the bedrock of Community policy-making for the remainder of the decade, a period made difficult by the oil crisis after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, which slowed European economies and caused widespread inflation.

The collapse of the dollar during Jimmy Carter’s US presidency (1977-81) converted Schmidt to the plan of the Commission’s president, Roy Jenkins, to revive EMU. From their deliberations was born the ultimately ill-fated European Monetary System. Gloomy, introspective and formidable, Schmidt was pessimistic about the global political and economic scene. He was nevertheless an enthusiast for the enlargement of the Community, strongly supporting the applications of Greece, Portugal and Spain. Margaret Thatcher’s advent in 1979 heralded a prolonged confrontation between the UK and the other member states over the British contribution to the European budget, during which Schmidt managed to remain equally trusted and respected by Jenkins, Giscard and Thatcher. In 1982 he lost power to Helmut Kohl when the Free Democrats switched coalition sides.

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Notas y References

  1. Based on the book “A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union from Aachen to Zollverein”, by Rodney Leach (Profile Books; London)

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