Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt smokes a cigarette as he listens to a speech during a luncheon at the Axel Springer publishing house in Berlin, September 29, 2010. AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN
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Former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt died Tuesday aged 96 and leaders from around Europe praised him as an architect of international cooperation and post-war European integration.Hollande added that Europe owed the existence of the euro common currency to Schmidt.Schmidt was succeeded by conservative Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who presided over German reunification in 1990 .European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said of Schmidt that he had lost a friend with political courage."The history of this continent shaped him for almost a century and made him a committed European," said Juncker.He said that Schmidt, together with former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, had founded a European currency system and so paved the way for the euro.
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