Helmut Schmidt, the West German Chancellor from 1974 to 1982, has died at the age of 96. Mr. Schmidt was a Social Democrat and one of the pivotal figures in the European Monetary System which is given credit for making the introduction of the euro possible.
Mr. Schmidt was one of the most popular of the German leaders and he is seen as having a vital role in the country´s economic upturn.
Mr. Schmidt died on Tuesday in Hamburg, his home city. European Parliament President Martin Shulz said,
“He was an outstanding chancellor; his death marks a turning point for Germany and Europe.”
His former foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher said about Schmidt on his 90th birthday in 2008,
“To this day, he ranks among the personalities in our nation who can give direction to their own country and are listened to internationally.”
He was a popular guest on TV chat shows and was uniquely allowed to disobey a smoking ban.