The Socialist International, the worldwide organisation of social democratic, socialist and labour parties, mourns the death of Willy Brandt, its president from November 1976 until the XIX Congress of the Socialist International held last month in Berlin, the city so closely associated with the life and concerns of Willy Brandt.
Our International had for sixteen years the honour of being led by one of the world's greatest statesmen, a man whose life and work uniquely symbolised the ideals and principles of our movement.
Democratic socialists everywhere today feel great sadness. We salute with pride the achievements of Willy Brandt, and his lifelong dedication to peace, to the defence of human rights, to a more just and democratic world, and to bringing people together in a common vision of a shared future.
We are proud to have worked with the man who will always be remembered for his resolute opposition to nazism; for his far-sighted policies as Chancellor of Germany; for his refusal to accept a divided Europe and his influential Ostpolitik; and for his leading role in mobilising consciousness of North-South issues and the urgent questions of development and inequality.
Under Willy Brandt’s presidency the Socialist International was transformed into a truly global organisation which has been able to rise to the challenges of our times, and which today carries the hopes and expectations of millions of democratic socialists all over the world.
As the recent Congress of the Socialist International in Berlin declared, ‘Willy Brandt’s name will for ever be linked to the history of our International. During his years in the presidency he displayed the vision, the wisdom and the determination of a great leader. He has been the creative force which planted and nurtured the ideals of social democracy and solidarity throughout the globe. He leaves us a solid legacy upon which we will continue to build.’
Pierre Mauroy, President, and Luis Ayala, Secretary General
9 October 1992