Helmut Schmidt: handsome, witty and supremely self-possessed, he was a magnetic speaker and a pugnacious debater. Photograph: Central Press/Getty Images

Helmut Schmidt, a former West German chancellor who has died aged 96, combined personal dynamism, managerial brilliance and an often acid-tongued impa(...)

In this 2009 file photo, former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt takes part in a discussion hosted by the ECB in Frankfurt, central Germany. Photograph: AP Photo/Daniel Roland

Former West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who led the country for eight years at the height of the cold war, died yesterday at the age of 96, his (...)

Former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt smokes a cigarette after a celebration of his 90th birthday, organised by Die Zeit newspaper in Hamburg, in January  2009. He has died at the age of 96. Photograph: Maurizio Gambarini/Reuters

Former West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who led the country for eight years at the height of the Cold War, has died at the age of 96, his office(...)

Polish main opposition party Law and Justice’s candidate for prime minister Beata Szydlo. Photograph:  Kacper Pempel/Reuters

It’s 1pm at the “Amor” wedding palace, a function room of glass chandeliers and stick-on stucco in rural Poland – and the bride is running late. Abou(...)

German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president François Hollande at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday. Photograph: Patrick Seeger/EPA

The leaders of France and Germany called on European Union member states to put their differences behind them as they tackle the refugee crisis, urgin(...)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel  at the German parliament prior to a vote on another bailout package for Greece, in the German Bundestag in Berlin. Photograph: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

Chancellor Angela Merkel was given a welcome shot in the arm in Berlin after the Bundestag backed joining a third loans-for-reforms programme for Gree(...)

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras: his Syriza administration has been “fuelled by a ruinous concoction of Marxist ideology, an abiding narrative of victimhood and breathtaking incompetence”.   Photograph: Michele Tantussi/Getty Images

The organising fact of modern policy-making is that the urgent tends to obscure the important. The urgent in this case is the cliffhanger over whether(...)

Jobseekers queue to enter an employment centre in Athens. Photograph: Kostas Tsironis/Bloomberg

In August last year French authorities began an investigation into possible negligence by Christine Lagarde, now head of the International Monetary Fu(...)

German chancellor Angela Merkel. ‘Holding the euro zone together will require Merkel to do something she has rarely done: make a far-reaching decision at odds with German public opinion.’ Photograph: Axel Schmidt/Getty Images

When German chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the Bundestag last Thursday morning, she said little she hadn’t said before. In her remarks on the b(...)

Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl (85) had a hip replacement in early May and had aimed to go to a Bavarian rehabilitation centre in June but this was now in doubt, according to ‘Bunte’ magazine. File photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Former chancellor Helmut Kohl, the architect of German reunification, is in intensive care at a clinic in Heidelberg after surgery on his intestine, a(...)