Helmut Schmidt: Russia Needed at Summit, and China and India

June 8, 2015

Again challenging German Chancellor Angela Merkel's agreement to ban Russia from the G7 Summit in Bavaria, 96-year-old former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt gave an interview to the June 7 Bild am Sonntag, headlined, "We Need Russia at the G7 Summit!" Schmidt is one of three influential statesmen of the Social Democratic side of Merkel's government -- former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and current Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier are with him -- to oppose Merkel on Russia.

Bild am Sonntag asked Schmidt, who founded the then-"G6" summits along with Valery Giscard d'Estaing of France, whether they still made sense to hold. Schmidt answered, "They are not as important as 40 years ago with this approach"; that after convincing Russia to participate in 1998, "We have unfortunately gambled that away. We mistake the facts, that Putin is not alone responsible for the current tensions between Russia and Western Europe."

Asked if Russia was needed at the summit in his view, Schmidt replied, "Yes, and the Chinese and the Indians, too." And he said that the results he expects out of the Elmau (Bavaria) Summit are "Not much, because important discussion partners are not there."