Armin Laschet

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Armin Laschet (2018) Signature of Armin Laschet

Armin Laschet (born February 18, 1961 in Aachen ) is a German politician ( CDU ). Since June 27, 2017, he has been the eleventh Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia . Since January 22, 2021, Laschet has been the ninth federal chairman of the CDU since it was founded and, since April 20 of the same year, the Union’s candidate for chancellor for the 2021 federal election .

In North Rhine-Westphalia he leads a black and yellow state government ( Laschet cabinet ). From 2005 to 2010 he was the integration and family minister of the state in the Rüttger cabinet and since 2012 he has headed the CDU regional association . From the state elections in 2017 , the CDU emerged as the strongest party under Laschet.


Family, education and work

Laschet grew up with three younger brothers in a Roman Catholic middle - class family in the Aachen district of Burtscheid . His mother Marcella Laschet (née Frings, 1932–2014) was a housewife, his father Heinrich ("Heinz") Laschet (* 1934) was a steiger at the Anna pit of the Eschweiler Mining Association in Alsdorf and after a pedagogical retraining (as " Mikater ”) head of a primary school in Aachen . The Laschet family comes from what is now the Wallonia region in Belgium . His grandfather Hubert Laschet (1899–1984) moved to Aachen in the 1920s from Hergenrath , a German-speaking town in the Kelmis municipality in East Belgium , which had belonged to Prussia since 1815 and to Germany until 1920. His grandmother Hubertina Laschet (née Wetzels, 1900–1979) was born in Aachen to parents who had recently moved there from Welkenraedt , one of the Low German communities in East Belgium.

As a teenager, Laschet was active as a supervisor in the Catholic youth work of St. Michael in Burtscheid. He attended the Rhein-Maas-Gymnasium Aachen , where he not in 10th grade offset was and - because it was the class because of its foreign language choice not repeat the same school - to the Episcopal Pius-Gymnasium Aachen moved, then a pure boy school , where he graduated from high school in 1981 . He then studied law and political science in Munich and Bonn and passed the first state examination in 1987 . His university education was supported by a grant from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation . During his studies he became a member of the Catholic student associations KDStV Aenania Munich and KDStV Ripuaria Bonn , both in the Cartell Association of Catholic German Student Associations .

From 1987 to 1988 Laschet completed a journalistic traineeship at the radio station 95.5 Charivari and then worked as a freelance journalist for Bavarian television and other Bavarian radio stations until 1994 . He also became a scientific advisor to the then President of the German Bundestag , Rita Süssmuth . From 1991 to 1994 he headed the KirchenZeitung Aachen as editor-in-chief at the suggestion of his father-in-law, Heinz Malangré, who was influential in the diocese of Aachen . From 1995 to 1999 Laschet was the publishing director of the Catholic Einhard Verlag, whose managing partner was his father-in-law.

Laschet's brother Patrick has published a family tree of the Laschet family on his private website , which goes back to Charlemagne . Although the genealogical listing does not prove a secure connection, a biography about Armin Laschet published in 2020 assumes that the Laschet family is seriously convinced of their descent from Charlemagne. In the opinion of the journalist Reiner Burger, however , the alleged origin is probably "not meant seriously, but rather as a typical Rhenish dialectical joke", which "perhaps contains a grain of truth". On the homepage Patrick Laschet writes: "As a native of Öcher [Aachen] one would naturally like to descend from Charlemagne and the probability is given". In a telephone interview with Der Spiegel, however, he made it clear that he “doesn't really” believe in it.

Private and religion

St. Michael in Aachen-Burtscheid, home church for Laschet

Armin Laschet met his wife Susanne Laschet née Malangré (* 1962) at elementary school age in a Burtscheider children's and youth choir. Her father Heinz Malangré, a brother of the Mayor of Aachen and Opus Dei member Kurt Malangré , directed the choir. Like Laschet's family, the Malangrés are originally from Wallonia, but from the French-speaking part. The two married in 1985. They still live in the Aachen district of Burtscheid and have three grown children, two sons and a daughter.

Laschet is a practicing Catholic and has been a member of the St. Michael parish in Aachen-Burtscheid since his baptism in 1961 , where he was an altar boy until 1977 and married his wife Susanne in 1985. After changing school, he, like many other students at the Pius Gymnasium, including his brother Remo, was won over by the school's religious teacher, then Aachen cathedral vicar Hans-Günther Vienken, as a cathedral servant and performed altar service in the Aachen cathedral in the immediate vicinity of Bishop Klaus Hemmerle . About his Catholic faith, Laschet stated that the family was " Rhenish Catholic ". Laschet has had close contacts and relationships within the Catholic Church in the Rhineland and beyond since his youth.

Laschet's closest advisor, Nathanael Liminski , is also a member of Opus Dei.

Political offices and functions

Laschet at the 31st party congress of the CDU in Hamburg (2018)

Member of the City Council, Bundestag and European Parliament

In 1989, Laschet, who joined the CDU at the age of 18 in 1979, became the youngest councilor for the CDU at the time in the Aachen city council , of which he remained a member until 2004.

In the 1994 federal election he won the direct mandate for the Aachen-Stadt constituency and lost it in the 1998 federal election .

In 1999 he was elected MEP and was a member of the European Parliament until 2005 . In the European Parliament he was mainly involved in foreign and security policy, international cooperation and budgetary policy.

State Minister in North Rhine-Westphalia

On June 24, 2005, Laschet was appointed State Minister for the newly tailored Ministry for Generations, Family, Women and Integration of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia in Rüttger's cabinet . In 2005, Laschet was the first state minister for integration in Germany. Laschet advocated an integrative policy of promoting education and opportunities, "Germany needs immigration and must become a republic of climbers even for those 38 percent of children under six who have a history of immigration". From March 8, 2010, he was also temporarily responsible for the affairs of the Minister for Federal Affairs, Europe and the Media for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia . His term of office ended with the assumption of government responsibility by the red-green minority government under Hannelore Kraft on July 14, 2010.

From 2005 to 2010 he was a deputy member of the Federal Council as State Minister and has been a member of the Federal Council again since 2017.

Chairman of the CDU regional association in North Rhine-Westphalia

In 2010, Laschet ran for the office of chairman of the CDU regional association of North Rhine-Westphalia, which had become vacant following the 2010 state election after the previous incumbent Jürgen Rüttgers withdrew . In October 2010, the CDU North Rhine-Westphalia carried out a member survey as to whether Norbert Röttgen or Laschet should become the new CDU chairman in North Rhine-Westphalia. In the run-up to this election, both of them presented their positions from September 1, 2010 in “discussion duels” at the eight CDU district associations. With a turnout of 52.8% of the approximately 158,000 CDU members, Norbert Röttgen was elected with 54.8% - by postal vote or voting in one of the 139 polling stations; the result was announced on October 31, 2010. After Norbert Röttgen lost the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2012 and subsequently resigned, Laschet was elected as the new chairman of the CDU North Rhine-Westphalia with 77% of the delegate's votes at the CDU special party conference on June 30, 2012.

Member of the state parliament in North Rhine-Westphalia

Laschet on the evening of the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia on May 14, 2017 in Düsseldorf

In the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia on May 9, 2010 , he was elected to the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia for the first time . In the early state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia on May 13, 2012 , Laschet moved back into the state parliament via the state list (5th place). On December 18, 2013, Laschet was elected with 64 votes as the new chairman of the CDU parliamentary group in North Rhine-Westphalia and thus the opposition leader in the North Rhine-Westphalia state parliament.

In the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia on May 14, 2017 , he was elected as a direct candidate in the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia in the regional constituency of Aachen II .

Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia

Laschet was elected the eleventh Prime Minister of the state in the North Rhine-Westphalian state parliament on June 27, 2017 with the votes of a black-yellow coalition of CDU and FDP in the first ballot with the required absolute majority (100 out of a total of 199 votes) and has been Prime Minister since then the state government.

Top positions in the federal party

In 2008 he was elected to the CDU federal executive board and was one of five deputy chairmen of the CDU from 2012 to 2021.

After Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer announced on February 10, 2020 that she would resign from the CDU party chairmanship in the course of 2020 and not run as a candidate for Chancellor in the 2021 federal election, Laschet announced on February 25, 2020 before the federal press conference that he would be for the office of the CDU - to apply for federal chairman with Jens Spahn as vice chairman. He competed against Friedrich Merz and Norbert Röttgen .

The election of the new CDU party chairman, postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic , took place at the 33rd party conference of the CDU in Germany on January 16, 2021. In an online voting of the delegates, which is not legally binding in the sense of the Political Parties Act, he was able to unite 53% of the votes in the second ballot. In the subsequent postal vote he was the only candidate and was elected the new party chairman of the CDU with 83% of the valid votes cast. On April 11, 2021, he, like Markus Söder , declared his readiness to run for chancellor for the 2021 federal election . After the CDU federal executive board again voted in favor of Laschet as candidate for chancellor on the evening of April 19, Söder renounced his candidacy the following day, which meant that Laschet was nominated as candidate for chancellor by the CDU and CSU. This nomination was controversial in the CDU because, according to the opinion polls so far, Laschet had significantly worse chances of success than Söder.


Since January 1, 2019, Laschet has been the representative of the Federal Republic of Germany for cultural matters within the framework of the agreement on Franco-German cooperation . Laschet is a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts . From 1996 to 2009 he was a member of the Executive Board and has since been a member of the Presidium of the German Society for the United Nations (DGVN).

From 2014 to 2016 he was a member of the board of directors of missio in Aachen and since 2017 he has been the foundation ambassador of the pro missio foundation . Until 2016 he was a member of the General Assembly of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK). He was also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Adalbert Foundation .

He has been an honorary senator at the Cologne Carnival since 2018 . In 2020 Laschet was seen in the first in a cameo in the 1115th episode from the crime scene . He played himself in the process.

Since 2020 Laschet is shared with Karl Lauterbach daily in the radio comedy Laschi and LautT on WDR 2 satirizes . The texts are written and spoken by Tobias Brodowy (Laschi) and Uli Winters (Lauti). For the Laschi- and Lautiläum , the 200th edition on March 25, 2021, Frank Plasberg had an acoustic cameo guest role here .

Political positions, controversies and criticism

Basic attitude

Laschet is considered liberal and moderate within the CDU and is particularly shaped by his Christian convictions :

"We have to make it clear that the brand essence of the Christian Democratic Union is not the conservative, but that the Christian image of man stands above everything."

- Armin Laschet (2018)

In May 2020 he was also open to black-green coalitions .

A week before his election as CDU chairman in 2021, he praised both the SPD as part of the ruling grand coalition and "his" black-yellow government in North Rhine-Westphalia, while he was critical of a possible black-green coalition : “I do not share the opinion that the Greens alone are the great salvation. Politically there are a lot of contradictions that we have to make visible in this election campaign. "

Integration policy

As Minister of Integration for North Rhine-Westphalia in 2008, he campaigned for tolerance, respect and a willingness to engage in dialogue, including with Muslims . He expressed understanding for the fact that Christians and Muslims make each other heard when they see their faith violated by jokes, for example, but "the organized abuse of such feelings for political purposes must be prevented". He also spoke out in favor of a headscarf ban for teachers.

Laschet represents the principles of equal opportunities and integration and wants to enable education regardless of the origin of the parents, and thus promote advancement through education. In 2020 he said in an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro :

“In truth, however, we have always been a country of immigration. […] Even if the French and German models are very different, both countries have the problem of successful integration. That is why we have to make social advancement even more possible through education. "

In 2010 he criticized Angela Merkel's remarks about Thilo Sarrazin and his book Germany abolishes itself . Merkel called the book “not helpful” and later admitted that she had not read it. Laschet called it "not helpful if you condemn a book and at the same time say you have not read it". In his opinion, the book is an important contribution to the discussion and Sarrazin is “not a right-wing radical ”. At the same time he criticized Sarrazin:

“You can name deficits and you can also name them if you want to combat them. But what Thilo Sarrazin does disappoints people, hurts people and doesn't get them any further. Mr Sarrazin might as well direct his insults against the German lower class. Let me give you an example: cases of child abuse and neglect usually take place in German families and less so in immigrant families. Sarrazin does not give a damning testimony to integration policy; rather, it provides arguments why it is necessary. "

Family and Education Policy

In 2006, as Minister of Family Affairs, Laschet was involved in converting day-care centers in North Rhine-Westphalia into family centers that, in addition to childcare, also meet the parents' growing need for advice and support in performing their educational and upbringing tasks, and offer health care, language support and leisure activities . Laschet said that “the family centers should become 'control centers' for social design processes in the district”, and the aim is “to improve the possibilities of preventive action by bundling the existing offers, and also families from socially disadvantaged and educationally disadvantaged groups and to make the offers more accessible to them. "

In 2018, the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia decided, as one of the measures to promote education, to set up 60 so-called “talent schools” from 45 general education schools and 15 vocational schools in districts with major social challenges, which will receive 20 percent more teaching positions and better equipment.

Before it was introduced in July 2017, Laschet rejected equality between same-sex and conventional marriage .

Labor market policy

In January 2019 agreed the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia together with the employers' associations , trade unions , community associations , institutions of independent welfare and the Federal Employment Agency created a joint declaration to implement the so-called "participatory opportunity law" with the 2019 social insurance nationwide 15,000 jobs for long term unemployed should. In January 2020, the North Rhine-Westphalian Labor Minister Karl-Josef Laumann announced that "almost 12,000 of the previously long-term unemployed people are still working in the newly created jobs". The Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung wrote in January 2020 that “the funding program had reached around 13,000 people in North Rhine-Westphalia in its first year” and that “around 6,000 new jobs had been created in the Ruhr area alone”.

Energy, climate and transport policy

In September 2012, Laschet and the FDP politician Christian Lindner wrote a guest article for the Rheinische Post with the headline “Away with the planned energy economy”. In 2013, Laschet spoke out against the infrastructure charge ( car toll ) and stated: “Today, motorists are already the nation's milking cows . You pay more mineral and vehicle tax than the state spends on infrastructure. "

In 2018, Laschet initially rejected the charge for old coal-fired power plants planned by Sigmar Gabriel . In the summer of 2018, Laschet supported RWE boss Rolf Martin Schmitz, saying that the Hambach Forest had to be sacrificed for the energy supply, and in mid-September had the tree houses of the forest occupiers cleared for fire protection reasons, although they had previously been tolerated for seven years and the protest had remained peaceful. The legality of the evictions has been confirmed by the Cologne Administrative Court and the Münster Higher Administrative Court . Following a ruling by the Münster Higher Administrative Court on October 5, 2018 in later proceedings, the clearing of the forest was stopped because RWE could not prove that this was necessary to maintain the power supply. Thereupon Laschet signaled for the first time willingness to talk to the critics of the lignite opencast mines. In the opinion of the Rheinische Post , Laschet was “driven” in matters of climate and species protection in view of the good results of the Greens in the European elections, the “Fridays for Future” protests and the increasing public protests. Since May 2018 he has been one of the CDU politicians who support the proposal for a CO 2 tax .

In 2019, after a television program in which Laschet and climate activist Luisa Neubauer participated, Der Spiegel saidabout Laschet's climate policy:

“In fact, Laschet is currently emerging as one of the more active politicians on climate issues within his party. Laschet has long been committed to phasing out coal and is demanding faster decisions from the federal government; he wants a 'tree premium' to protect and reforest forests; calls for a climate protection foreign policy; and calls the Federal Government's just adopted climate package a first step in the right direction, but criticizes it as not being far enough. "

At the beginning of 2021, climate researcher Volker Quaschning , economist Claudia Kemfert and activist Neubauer rated both Laschet's climate concept and that of its opponents Merz and Röttgen as inadequate.

Andreas Knie describes Laschet as a “man of compromise” and misses his ability to “shape things and set priorities - even when it hurts”. On the one hand, Laschet campaigns for coal , but is also for renewables . He would like to promote vehicles with alternative drives , but is also in favor of the expansion of roads and the commuter allowance .

Foreign policy

In 2013, Laschet criticized Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle's support for the Syrian opposition in the civil war in Syria : “It is absurd that the same people are supported in Syria that we are fighting in Mali . It is the terrorist groups al-Nusra and al-Qaida, financed from Qatar and Saudi Arabia , who are introducing Sharia courts and fighting the religious diversity of Syria ”. In 2013, Laschet also criticized Westerwelle's demand to release the former President Mohammed Morsi after the overthrow in Egypt in 2013 , because minorities and Christians in particular had suffered under Morsi. Thereupon Laschet himself was criticized by parts of the CDU and FDP.

Attitude to the Roman Catholic Church, clarification of cases of sexual violence

Laschet - former editor of the Aachener Bistumsblatt and until 2016 member of the General Assembly of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) - takes a proactive stance towards the Roman Catholic Church . Laschet certified the incumbent Pope Francis that he was tackling "difficult internal projects"; the Pope is not hesitant to make changes and also has "a very positive effect in the world". "My personal impression from meeting him is that he is very affectionate, well prepared and very specific to arguments."

Laschet's attitude towards the clarification of cases of sexual violence by clergy is characterized by reserve on the one hand and trust in the church in dealing with it on the other. Laschet was reprimanded by the vicar general of the diocese, Karlheinz Collas , for reporting in the Aachener Kirchenzeitung about the conviction of a pastor for the sexual abuse of minors - and the mention of the long-term cover-up of the case by his church superiors : he forbade the newspaper to publish important church-political reports without his countersignature.

In 2019, Laschet praised the Catholic Church for its handling of the abuse scandal and certified that it “worked hard to clarify the abuse crisis”. The Catholic Church reacts to the events "quickly, professionally and consistently".

On the occasion of the reluctance to come to terms with cases of sexual violence by the Archdiocese of Cologne , Laschet took the view in 2020 that what was going on in the Archdiocese still had to be clarified within the church, and declared: “Child abuse is an offense that must be clarified in every respect . I respect the way the churches do it. "

Conduct during the corona pandemic

Parliamentary democracy

On March 30, 2020, Laschet wanted to enforce an epidemic law with extensive access and special rights in an urgent procedure. Among other things, the draft law called for the compulsory recruitment of doctors in North Rhine-Westphalia, which the medical profession vehemently opposed.

Disregard of public procurement law when ordering protective equipment

In April 2020, to contain the COVID-19 pandemic , the state government bought protective equipment from the textile company Van Laack without prior tendering for reasons of urgency . In December 2020, it was criticized that Laschet's son Johannes Laschet, who works for Van Laack as an influencer, had made contact with the state government. Laschet defended the procedure with the emergency situation at the time. His son received no fee for arranging contacts.

Corona outbreak at Tönnies

In June 2020, Laschet came under criticism for a statement about the corona outbreak in the Tönnies slaughterhouse . When asked what the corona outbreak in the Tönnies slaughterhouse said about the previous easing in North Rhine-Westphalia, he replied:

“That says nothing about it, because Romanians and Bulgarians came there and the virus comes from there. That will happen everywhere. "

- Armin Laschet

This statement caused public outrage. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas criticized Laschet's claim:

"It is extremely dangerous to sharpen discussions (...) through such accusations, which are also absurd in the matter." Laschet is adding "fuel to the fire", as "no one who makes responsible politics is allowed to do."

- Heiko Maas

Responding to the criticism, Laschet said:

“It is forbidden to blame people of any origin for the virus. It is important to me to make it clear that this is a matter of course for me as well as for the entire state government. "

- Armin Laschet


On June 30, 2020, Laschet spoke out against a street carnival for the traditional opening of the session on the eleventh in the eleventh , as it was risky due to alcohol and tightness in the time of a pandemic. The Bund Deutscher Karneval criticized this decision and felt the statements as "discrimination against the customs of carnival". In the course of the progressing pandemic, the carnival heads of Cologne , Düsseldorf , Bonn and Aachen asked the state government in September 2020 for a “clear signal to cancel the carnival meeting”, which then happened. The President of the Cologne Carnival commented that "Large gatherings of people, swaying, singing and handing out jugs, in great exuberance and often with alcohol consumption - all of this is unthinkable in the pandemic" (was).

Easing discourse

After Laschet had advocated easing the restrictive measures at an early stage in spring 2020, he became significantly more cautious and advocated restrictions in autumn / winter 2020/2021. In February 2021, however, Armin Laschet again advocated relaxation and described virologists as "activists". As early as April 2021, however, he swung around again with the proposal of a “bridge lockdown”, which should apply “until a large part of the population is vaccinated”.

Controversy over made up notes

From 1999 to 2015 Laschet had a teaching position at the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen , which he returned after he said that he had "lost in the mail" exams to be corrected in the political science master's program and had "reconstructed" the grades on the basis of his notes. This approach was noticed, among other things, by the fact that some students received a grade even though they had not taken the exam. Even before Laschet returned the teaching assignment, the university took the decision to only allow him to offer courses in the future in the form of additional courses without examinations. Laschet's credibility in the academic education sector was considered shaken by the scandal.

Controversy over his tax return

A few days before the 2009 Bundestag elections , Laschet, as Minister for Generations, Family, Women and Integration of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, published the non-fiction book The Rising Republic : Immigration as an Opportunity , whereby he had made use of the support of employees of the ministry. He donated the fee and claimed the donation in his tax return without specifying the fee as income. The taxes were paid back.






Web links

Commons : Armin Laschet  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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