Frank-Walter Steinmeier (born January 5, 1956 in Detmold ) is a German politician ( SPD ). He has been the twelfth Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany since March 2017 . Steinmeier is running again in the election on February 13, 2022 ; the parties in the Scholz government (SPD, FDP and Greens) and the Union have signaled their approval .
From 1999 to 2005 Steinmeier was head of the Federal Chancellery under Gerhard Schröder , from 2005 to 2009 ( Cabinet Merkel I ) Foreign Minister and since 2007 Vice Chancellor of the Federal Republic. His second term as Foreign Minister lasted from 2013 to 2017 ( Merkel III cabinet ). After the defeat as the SPD's candidate for chancellor in the 2009 federal election , he was chairman of the SPD parliamentary group from 2009 to 2013 and thus also the leader of the opposition .
Origin and studies
Frank-Walter Steinmeier was founded in 1956 as the son of the carpenter Walter Steinmeier (1928-2012) and his wife Ursula Steinmeier, born Broy, one from (1929 *) Wroclaw coming home sold factory worker born. He grew up in Brakelsiek ( Lippe district , North Rhine-Westphalia ), which today belongs to the town of Schieder-Schwalenberg . The father's ancestors had been farmers in Lippe for generations . Up until the 1930s, however, the grandfather still had to leave the family as a Lippischer Ziegler annually in order to earn additional money as a seasonal worker .
After graduating from high school in 1974 at the New Language High School in Blomberg , Frank-Walter Steinmeier did two years of military service in the Air Force in Goslar (last rank of corporal ) and began studying law in 1976 and, from 1980, political science at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen , where he During this time, as a member of the Juso University Group, he was a financial officer in the AStA and was a member of the university's Senate.
During his student days, he and Brigitte Zypries were part of the editorial team of the left-wing quarterly magazine Demokratie und Recht (DuR), which was monitored by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution . The magazine was published by Pahl-Rugenstein Verlag , which later turned out to be financed by the GDR .
Steinmeier passed the first state examination in 1982 and the second state examination in 1986 . He then worked as a research assistant at the chair for public law and political science at the University of Giessen . In 1991 he was promoted to Dr. jur. doctorate (topic of his doctoral thesis: tradition and perspectives of state intervention to prevent and eradicate homelessness ).
In 1991 he joined the Lower Saxony State Chancellery as a consultant for media law and media policy . In 1993, Gerhard Schröder , Prime Minister from mid-1990 to spring 1998 , entrusted Steinmeier with the management of his office. In 1994 Steinmeier was promoted to head of the department for policy guidelines, departmental coordination and planning.
Steinmeier has been married to the administrative judge Elke Büdenbender since December 27, 1995 , whom he has known since studying law together. You have a daughter (* 1996). He is an Evangelical Reformed Christian and belongs to the Reformed Bethlehem Congregation in Berlin within the Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia . He lives in Berlin-Zehlendorf . Since 2008 he has had a second home in his constituency in Saaringen , a small residential area in Brandenburg an der Havel . On August 23, 2010, he announced that he would retire from politics for a few weeks because his wife was ill. The following day, a kidney was removed from him and transplanted to his wife . As early as 1980 he needed a corneal transplant as a result of a corneal ulcer in order not to go blind in both eyes.
In his youth Steinmeier played soccer at TuS 08 Brakelsiek, where he was nicknamed "Prickel". He is a supporter of FC Schalke 04 .
First years (1993 to 1999)
From 1993 to 1994 Steinmeier was head of the personal office of the Lower Saxony Prime Minister, then department coordinator. In 1996 he was appointed State Secretary and Head of the Lower Saxony State Chancellery. Following the election of Gerhard Schröder as Federal Chancellor in 1998, Steinmeier followed him to Bonn. In November 1998, Gerhard Schröder appointed him State Secretary in the Federal Chancellery and Commissioner for the Federal Intelligence Services .
As head of the Federal Chancellery (1999 to 2005)
After the resignation of Chancellery Minister Bodo Hombach , Steinmeier became head of the Federal Chancellery on July 7, 1999. A simultaneous appointment as Federal Minister for Special Tasks was waived. Here too, Steinmeier was a close political confidante of Schröder. He mostly worked as a manager and power broker in the background. He wrote strategy papers for the SPD such as:
- Reform of the pension and health system in December 2002
- Agenda 2010 (participation in the conception)
In his role as head of the Chancellery, Steinmeier chaired the so-called "Steinmeier Circle", which included Schröder's office manager Sigrid Krampitz , Minister of Economics Wolfgang Clement , government spokesman Béla Anda , Thomas Steg , planning chief Henry Cordes and Chancellor Reinhard Hesse's communications advisor . Here, with Steinmeier's significant involvement, political assessments of the situation as well as political reaction patterns and strategy drafts for the Schröder government were developed.
Steinmeier is considered an assertive pragmatist . Already in the six years as head of the chancellery and commissioner for the federal intelligence services , he gained experience in foreign policy, as he had extended access to information about the political world situation. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 , he was part of the crisis team with the Chancellor, Foreign, Interior and Defense Ministers. For many years Steinmeier headed the so-called State Secretaries Round, in which the topics of the Federal Cabinet were discussed. As head of the chancellery in the group of state secretaries for European issues, he was often the decisive factor in the coordination between competing ministries.
Cabinets Merkel I and III (2005 to 2009, 2013 to 2017)
On November 22, 2005, Steinmeier was appointed Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs to the cabinet led by Chancellor Angela Merkel . Steinmeier's appointment came as a surprise to the public because he was mainly known as Schröder's confidante. His appointment as foreign minister triggered mostly positive reactions from experts, including Hans-Dietrich Genscher . Steinmeier was President of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2007 .
After Franz Müntefering's resignation , Steinmeier took over the position of Vice Chancellor on November 21, 2007. After the federal election in 2009 , a CDU / CSU-FDP coalition was formed. The Merkel II cabinet was sworn in on October 28, 2009; the ministers of the previous cabinet (including Steinmeier) were dismissed from their offices on October 27, 2009.
After the federal election in 2013 and after the coalition agreement for the 18th electoral period between the SPD and the Union of the SPD base was confirmed on December 14, 2013, it was announced that Steinmeier was to become Foreign Minister again in Merkel's third cabinet . Steinmeier resigned from his position as Foreign Minister on January 27, 2017; he was succeeded by Sigmar Gabriel .
Federal President (since 2017)
Steinmeier was elected 12th Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany in the 16th Federal Assembly on February 12, 2017 in the first ballot with 931 of 1,239 valid votes. He took office on March 19, 2017 and was sworn in on March 22, 2017 at a joint meeting of the Bundestag and Bundesrat .
He is a member of the Presidium of the German Society for the United Nations .
On May 28, 2021 Steinmeier announced for a second term of choice to make.
Visits abroad as Federal President
When Frank-Walter Steinmeier took office as Federal President, he assumed the patronage of the German Society for the Rescue of Shipwrecked People , which the incumbent Federal President has held since 1950.
As the patron of Youth Against AIDS , Frank-Walter Steinmeier supports a project initiated and managed by young people, which carries out educational and prevention work on an equal footing.
The German Youth Hostel Association has also been under the patronage of Steinmeier since April 2017 , the German Foundation for Monument Protection and the German Life-Saving Society since May 2017, and the German War Graves Association since June 2017 .
Steinmeier joined the Young Socialists as a student . He has been a member of the SPD since November 1975. During his time as a speaker and as head of the Federal Chancellery, he did not take on any party functions or parliamentary mandates.
At the SPD party congress in Hamburg at the end of October 2007 ( 33rd SPD party congress ), he was elected one of the three deputy chairmen with 85.5 percent. In this function he was provisional SPD chairman in September and October 2008 after Kurt Beck's resignation until the special party conference for the election of the new chairman Franz Müntefering .
On September 7, 2008, the SPD Presidium decided to propose Steinmeier as candidate for chancellor for the 2009 Bundestag election. He was elected on October 18, 2008 at a special party conference in Berlin and received 95.13 percent of the valid votes.
For the 2009 Bundestag elections, Steinmeier also sought a separate Bundestag mandate. He joined the Bundestag constituency of Brandenburg an der Havel - Potsdam-Mittelmark I - Havelland III - Teltow-Fläming I , which is why he became a member of the Kirchmöser SPD local association . This constituency was considered relatively safe for the SPD and Steinmeier received 32.8 percent of the vote, ahead of Diana Golze (Die Linke, 28.5%) and Andrea Astrid Vosshoff (CDU, 24.6%).
In the federal election, the SPD received 23.0% of the second vote; Angela Merkel formed a black-yellow coalition and remained Chancellor. Two days later, Steinmeier was elected parliamentary group leader of the SPD parliamentary group with 126 out of 146 votes in the SPD parliamentarians, thus assuming the unofficial role of opposition leader in the Bundestag. With the renewed takeover of the Federal Foreign Ministry, he relinquished this intra-party office to Thomas Oppermann in 2013 .
In July 2011 Steinmeier advocated the introduction of the post of European finance minister.
In 2006, during the EU Council Presidency, he campaigned for the EU sanctions against Uzbekistan that had been imposed on the occasion of the Andijon massacre the previous year to be relaxed . The sanctions were then lifted, as was the arms embargo, although Uzbekistan had not yet allowed an independent international investigation. At this time, international organizations were also expelled from the country.
Economic and social policy
Steinmeier is considered to be the architect of the Agenda 2010 laws of the former Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Together with 52 others, including Matthias Platzeck , Peer Steinbrück , Sigmar Gabriel , Hubertus Heil and Hans-Peter Bartels, he is co-editor of the newspaper Berliner Republik .
According to Steinmeier, the reform policy of the SPD has made the “economy in Germany more competitive than ever before. That is why wages and pensions are now rising again ”; on the other hand, the Left Party's program is a “safe path to poverty”.
In terms of domestic politics, Steinmeier explains that he supports current SPD positions such as “retirement at 67” and the expansion of the scope of long-term care insurance .
In the 2009 Bundestag election campaign , Steinmeier, as the SPD candidate for Chancellor, presented his Germany plan to overcome unemployment by 2020 to the Karl Schiller Foundation on August 2nd . According to this, four million new jobs should be created by 2020, including two million in industry, one million in the health sector, 500,000 in the creative industries and 500,000 in other areas such as the service sector. In particular, the conversion of the energy supply to renewable energies, the promotion of electromobility and infrastructure measures should be promoted. Furthermore, an alliance for medium-sized companies from the federal government , business , trade unions and banks was planned in order to promote medium-sized companies. By 2020, fifty percent of all young people should have achieved the general university entrance qualification . With an equal treatment law for the private sector, the quota for women should be introduced on supervisory boards , women should earn as much as men.
In the summer of 2007, Steinmeier endorsed Kurt Beck's candidacy for chancellor , whom he described as a preferred candidate. On Beck's resignation in September 2008, however, Steinmeier stated that the SPD needed a “fresh start”. Steinmeier proposed Franz Müntefering as the new party chairman and stated that Beck had proposed Steinmeier as a new suitable candidate for chancellor.
Steinmeier has rejected an early withdrawal of the Bundeswehr from Afghanistan.
In April 2009, Steinmeier, as foreign minister, demanded the withdrawal of all US nuclear weapons in Germany .
In 2016, Steinmeier criticized the large-scale maneuvers Anaconda and " Saber Strike " in Poland and the Baltic states as "loud saber rattles and howls of war". It is "fatal" to narrow the view of the military and to seek salvation in a policy of deterrence. “Anyone who thinks they can create more security with symbolic tank parades on the eastern border of the alliance is wrong. (…) We are well advised not to deliver any pretexts for a new, old confrontation free of charge. ”In response to criticism, especially from the CDU and the Greens, Steinmeier reiterated his view that military strength must be accompanied by relaxation. "This is no less important contribution to European security than that which others are currently emphasizing and publicly showing."
On February 14, 2020, Steinmeier warned urgently of growing nationalism in his opening speech at the 56th Munich Security Conference and criticized the world powers. He explained: "In this age, the retreat into the national leads us into a dead end, into a dark time." It is "extremely dangerous" if trust that has grown worldwide is jeopardized by a "relapse into the thinking of the day before yesterday". One must therefore "continue to strive to create a supranational legal order."
When US President Trump was not re-elected in November 2020 , Steinmeier wrote that the return of the US to common ideals would offer "the opportunity to put a stop to the erosion of the international order."
Steinmeier suggested that the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic should be commemorated across Germany on April 18, 2021 . At the central memorial act for the deceased, he said: "Today we also think of the doctors, the nurses, who fight for life day and night during this time, often to the point of total exhaustion and not infrequently beyond."
In the case of to people who are in January 2002 in US custody Murat Kurnaz , the American US in which to October 2006 Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba was imprisoned, Steinmeier accused, one from the Department of Defense and the CIA already September 2002 not to have accepted the prospect of a transfer of the Turkish citizen born and raised in Germany and, as the person directly responsible for politics, to have forced the further imprisonment of Kurnaz. In the case, the BND committee of inquiry intervened, which stated in its final report with a coalition majority that there had been no such offer of release.
The BND investigative committee also looked into the question of whether the Schröder government, despite its rejection of the Iraq war, supported it in 2003 through cooperation between the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) and American agencies. Steinmeier, at that time the Federal Intelligence Service Commissioner, has already been summoned several times as a witness before the investigative committee because of this issue. Some leading US generals said in December 2008 that BND intelligence was critical to the course of the war. Opposition and Union politicians in the investigation committee see the suspicion of essential cooperation of the BND as confirmed, Steinmeier, however, regards this as misinformation.
Integration song with Muhabbet
On November 12, 2007, Steinmeier recorded a song with his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner and the Turkish singer Muhabbet , which was intended to promote integration and against violence. A day later, according to TV journalist Esther Schapira , the singer Muhabbet made a radical statement, after which the media reported that Muhabbet not only glorified crime and violence in his early texts, but was also an Islamist who committed the murder of Theo van Gogh defended. The singer has denied the allegations and distanced himself from the alleged statements.
Plagiarism allegation by Uwe Kamenz and VroniPlag Wiki
On September 29, 2013, the magazine reported Focus , that Uwe Kamenz , an economics professor at the University of Applied Sciences in Dortmund , the suspicion of plagiarism had raised against Steinmeier in his doctoral thesis. Steinmeier called this an "absurd accusation" and asked the President of the University of Giessen, Joybrato Mukherjee , for a "formal review" the following day . An investigation was carried out on VroniPlag Wiki . During this period, text passages were documented for about a quarter of the pages (95 of 395) which, according to the applicable standards, are plagiarism, mainly so-called pawn sacrifices . Nevertheless, the university discontinued the examination procedure on November 5, 2013, because "the suspicion of academic misconduct has not been adequately confirmed". There were "technical weaknesses [...] with regard to the citation practice", but no intention to deceive could be determined. The author could also not be accused of having largely misled what was necessary to revoke the title. The Tagesspiegel quoted the chairman of the commission for safeguarding good scientific practice of the University of Giessen, Wolf-Dietrich Walker , with regard to plagiarism classified as pawn victim by VroniPlag Wiki, that these are not plagiarisms, since the author “the quotations in quotation marks 'as emphasis' have understood.
Data sharing and monitoring by the NSA
At the beginning of the political reappraisal of the NSA scandal , Steinmeier was accused in August 2013 of having signed an agreement in principle on cooperation between the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) and the US National Secret Service, as the Federal Government Commissioner for the intelligence services of the red-green federal government Security Agency (NSA) to monitor certain telecommunications data. Steinmeier defended himself at the time by stating that this had "nothing to do with the accusation that the USA has been monitoring data traffic in Germany since 2005". In fact, until the election of the new government under Angela Merkel in November 2005, Steinmeier was the commissioner for the federal intelligence services, and the data transfer, in which the Federal Intelligence Service tapped a data node in Frankfurt and forwarded raw data to the Americans, took place from 2004 to 2007. It was neither technically possible for the BND nor desired by the NSA to reliably exclude data from citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany from being passed on.
Refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide
In the debate about Germany's recognition of the Armenian genocide on the occasion of its centenary of remembrance , Steinmeier, as Federal Foreign Minister in 2015/2016, was the most aggressive opponent of recognition, as it relativized the Holocaust . This brought him criticism from many sides, especially since Pope Francis , the then Federal President Gauck and Israel's President Reuven Rivlin spoke of genocide. Shortly before the vote in the Bundestag on the Armenia resolution on June 2, 2016, Steinmeier, like Angela Merkel and Sigmar Gabriel , announced that he would be absent for scheduling reasons, and he stayed away from her.
Erdoğan meeting of German national soccer players
On May 15, 2018, it was announced that the two Turkish national football players Mesut Özil and Ilkay Gündoğan had themselves photographed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at a Turkish event in London and gave him jerseys from their English clubs Arsenal and Manchester City . Gündoğan had written Sayın Cumhurbaşkanım'a saygılarımla ( something like : “with respect for my President”) on his jersey . The German Football Association (DFB) distanced itself from this action and Cem Özdemir ( Alliance 90 / The Greens ), a member of the Bundestag of Turkish origin, criticized Özil and Gündogan. Five days later, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier received the two. On June 6, 2018, Steinmeier said he had viewed the photos of the two German national players critically and initially wondered whether the two had been taken by surprise. This made him “at a loss”.
Support of anti-right concert in Chemnitz
After a 35-year-old man was allegedly killed by several asylum seekers in Chemnitz, Saxony, on August 25, 2018, several right-wing demonstrations took place in the city , which also led to riots (see riots in Chemnitz 2018 ). Then the Chemnitz band Kraftklub initiated a concert against the right on September 3, 2018 , which was supported by other music groups. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also recommended the event on his Facebook page “Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier”. Since one of the supporting bands was the group Feine Sahne Fischfilet , which was mentioned for several years in the constitution protection report of the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania because of “left-wing extremist efforts” , Steinmeier was criticized from various sides. For example, the CDU General Secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said she saw the recommendation as "very critical". The rule of law cannot be defended with people “who verbally beat police officers in exactly the same way” as right-wing extremists. Steinmeier, on the other hand, defended his recommendation and declared that he would also like to speak up in the future: "If I see something fundamental slipping, I will speak up and argue for our basic values".
Congratulations to the Iranian regime
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution , Steinmeier sent a congratulatory telegram to Iranian President Hassan Rohani on February 11, 2019 . Because of Iranian anti-Semitism and the country's support for international terrorism , this has been heavily criticized from many quarters. The political scientist Hamed Abdel-Samad confronted Steinmeier directly at the Democracy Forum in Bellevue Palace with the accusation that he had sent the wrong signals to the regime in Iran and thereby not taking German values seriously. The Central Council of Jews accused Steinmeier of a lack of sensitivity in dealing with Iran . In Iran, human rights are trampled on, and the country also plays a destabilizing role in the region.
Steinmeier justified the telegram as "diplomatic practice".
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was the first German head of state to speak in Yad Vashem at the central commemoration event for the 5th World Holocaust Forum on January 23, 2020 in Jerusalem. He began his speech in Hebrew with the blessing Shehechejanu : "Praise be to the Lord [...] that he lets me be here today." Out of consideration for the Holocaust survivors in the audience, the Federal President confessed to the German guilt on the Holocaust and assured the protection of Jewish life: “We fight anti-Semitism! We defy the poison of nationalism! We protect Jewish life! We stand on the side of Israel! I renew this promise here in Yad Vashem in front of the eyes of the world. ”However, he also lamented the increasing anti-Semitism in Germany:“ Today the evil spirits appear in a new guise. Even more: They present their anti-Semitic, their folkish, their authoritarian thinking as an answer for the future, as a new solution to the problems of our time. I wish I could say: We Germans have forever learned from history. But I can't say that when hatred and agitation are spreading. "
- Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (2006)
- Grand Cross of the Norwegian Order of Merit
- Grand Cross of the Portuguese Order of Merit (2009)
- Honorary doctorate from the Ural Federal University , Yekaterinburg (2010)
- Honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2015)
- Honorary doctorate from the University of Piraeus (2015)
- Large Golden Decoration on Ribbon for Services to the Republic of Austria (2016; corresponds to a Grand Cross 1st Class)
- Tolerance Prize of the Evangelical Academy Tutzing (2016)
- Honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Cultural Studies at the University of Paderborn for his services in promoting German institutes abroad and the UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as persistent commitment to intercultural understanding (2016)
- Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor of the French Republic (2017)
- Special level of the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2017; when taking office as Federal President)
- Honorary doctorate from the Lebanese University , Beirut (2018)
- Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose (2018)
- Collane of the Order of the Falcons (2019)
- Leo Baeck Medal (2021)
- Honorary Citizen of the City of Berlin (2021)
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|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||German politician (SPD), Member of the Bundestag, 12th Federal President|
|BIRTH DATE||5th January 1956|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Detmold|