Vladimir Putin

Schmidt, Helmut

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The role or rather the responsibilities of Germany after unification. Discussing Germany's role in a broader context and scope. Unification just one element in a revolutionary, growing change in the world situation and certainly one of long-lasting historical dimensions. The liberation of more than a dozen European nations from communist dictatorship and from Soviet-overlord sovereignty. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the uncertainty about the future role of Russia. The fast rise of China to superpower status. The triangle of superpowers at the start of the 21st century. Speculation as to what will happen with the European Union, and upon what that will depend. The single currency issue. The willpower to arrive at one foreign and security policy. The fine print in the Maastricht Treaty and what it means in terms of the criteria of convergence. The slow replacement of the dollar by new reserve currencies like the yen, the Deutschemark and the Swiss franc. What will happen if the single Euro currency does not come about. A look back to the beginning of the integrative process as started in 1950 by a proposal of Winston Churchill made in his famous speech in Zurich, Switzerland in 1946, and as instigated by Jean Monnet. Motives for Churchill, four years later for Monnet, and then Truman and Adenauer of Germany. Current motives. Changes from the original plans, and reasons for the changes. Germany's position as a very small country in the middle of a very small, very narrow continent, with nine immediate territory neighbours. A discussion of Germany's position if the integrative process fails. The speaker's expectation that the integrative process in Europe will continue, and reasons why. The effect of one currency in Europe on Canada's agricultural interest. The Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Area and its auspices--so-called TAFTA. The concern not of trade but of unemployment in Europe, including Germany. The problem of high wage levels, compared to those of new competitors in the Far East, in South East Asia, in China, in India or even in the U.S., Canada and Eastern Europe. Problems in Germany found to some degree in all developed industrialised economies. Putting this into historical perspective. Capital today seeking profits worldwide. The decreasing savings rate. High real investments in the upcoming developing countries including China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam. Benefits to Hungary and the Czech Republic. Choices for the old industrialised countries. Germany's particular situation, and why it is unique. The time it will take for Germany to come to equality of productivity and standard of living between East and West Germany, and why that is so. Changes expected in the political psychology inside this newly united country. The alleged rebirth of Nazism or of neo-Nazism seen as sensationalist reporting by the speaker. The high regard for Canada by Germany, particularly for Canada's participation in and contribution to NATO and to the United Nations. German visitors to Canada.