Jens Georg Spahn (born May 16, 1980 in Ahaus ) is a German politician ( CDU ). He has been a member of the Bundestag since 2002 and was on the Parliament's Health Committee from 2005 to 2009 . In addition, from 2006 to 2010 he was involved in a lobby company for the medical and pharmaceutical sector, which he helped found. From 2015 to 2018 he was Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance and since March 14, 2018 he has been Federal Minister of Health in the Merkel IV cabinet .
Origin, education and private life
Spahn grew up with two younger siblings in the village of Ottenstein , a district of Ahaus in the Borken district in the north of Westmünsterland . After graduating from high school in 1999 at the Episcopal Canisius School in Ahaus, Spahn completed dual vocational training as a banker at Westdeutsche Landesbank in Münster , which he completed in 2001 with an IHK degree .
From 2003 to 2017, Spahn studied political science at the University of Hagen , in addition to his work as a member of the Bundestag, and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in 2008 and a Master of Arts in 2017 .
In 2012, Friends of Europe , a European “think tank in which lobbyists and representatives of EU institutions work together”, selected him as one of the “40 under 40 - European Young Leaders”. Spahn completed the “Young Leader Program” for aspiring leaders in politics and business, a partner project of the German think tank Atlantik-Brücke and the American Council on Germany . In June 2017, Spahn was a participant in the Bilderberg Conference in Chantilly , Virginia .
Spahn is gay . In an interview with Spiegel magazine in 2012, however, he emphasized that as a politician he “doesn't define himself by being gay”. According to this, he is “not doing a gay clientele policy ”, but wants to “solve the problems of our time as a health expert.” He is married to his husband Daniel Funke, who works as chief lobbyist for Hubert Burda Media KG , in Berlin. The wedding of Spahn and Funke was on December 22nd, 2017 at Schloss Borbeck in Essen . The wedding ceremony was carried out by the Mayor of Essen, Thomas Kufen . Jens Spahn was an altar boy in his youth and is of Catholic faith.
CDU politician and public office
Spahn joined the Junge Union in 1995 and the CDU in 1997. He was district chairman of the JU Borken from 1999 to 2006 and has been chairman of the CDU district association Borken with 6500 members since 2005. From 1999 to 2009 he was a member of the city council of Ahaus. From 2009 to 2015 he was a district council member in his home district of Borken.
Jens Spahn drew 2002, 2005, 2009, 2013 and 2017 as directly selected delegates of the constituency Steinfurt I - I Borken in the Bundestag one. In the 2017 federal election he received 51.2 percent of the first votes.
Since November 2005 he has been deputy chairman of the health working group of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group and chairman of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group in the committee for health. He was a member of the coalition working group of the CDU / CSU and SPD that prepared the 2007 health reform . From 2009 to 2015 he was chairman of the health working group and at the same time health policy spokesman for the CDU / CSU parliamentary group. Spahn belongs to the "young group" of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group. He is a founding member of a cross-factional group of young members of the Bundestag who are committed to anchoring intergenerational justice as a state goal in the Basic Law.
Jens Spahn has been chairman of his party's federal specialist committee on health and care since November 14, 2014. The approximately 40-strong committee includes representatives of the regional associations and the CDU associations. The committee elaborates the health policy positions of the party.
Member of the CDU Presidium (since 2014)
At the CDU federal party conference in Cologne in 2014, Spahn was elected to the CDU Presidium, displacing the then Health Minister Hermann Gröhe . In his candidacy, Spahn emphasized the importance of “rejuvenating the party”.
In 2018, Spahn was re-elected to the presidium at the CDU federal party conference in Hamburg with 89 percent of the vote.
Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance (2015 to 2018)
From 2015 to 2018 he was Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance .
Federal Minister of Health (since 2018)
On March 14, 2018, Jens Spahn was appointed Federal Minister of Health by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier . He replaced Hermann Gröhe in this position. Spahn is the youngest minister in the Merkel IV cabinet .
At the beginning of his tenure, Spahn named the digitization of the health system as a central task and wanted to "seize the opportunities offered by digital change". In the Federal Ministry of Health, Spahn founded his own digital department as well as an expert committee led by the manager Jörg Debatin and financed by BWI GmbH , which is to advise the ministry on digital health issues for three years. The Digital Supply Act (DVG) passed under Spahn provides for the targeted use of anonymized health data for research and, for the first time worldwide, opens up the possibility of using health apps at the expense of the health insurance company. Data protectionists criticized a possible misuse of data. Proponents see a "breakthrough for the digitization of health care".
As Minister of Health, Jens Spahn was instrumental in drafting the Cabinet's Appointment Service and Supply Act (TSVG). This should ensure that those with statutory health insurance can get a doctor's appointment more quickly and easily. The law came into force in May 2019 and, in addition to expanding the service catalog of statutory health insurance, also increases the minimum consultation times for doctors and obliges health insurers to offer electronic patient files for their insured persons from 2021 at the latest. The company health insurance funds praised the law as a “courageous step into the digital future”. The Federal Association of Contract Psychotherapists complained that people with mental illnesses were "incapacitated". An electronic petition to withdraw the draft law found more than 200,000 signatories, making it the most successful petition launched to date to the Bundestag.
On the occasion of the "National Decade Against Cancer" proclaimed on January 29, 2019 to promote cancer prevention and research, Spahn referred to "good chances that we will have defeated cancer in ten to 20 years". This prognosis led to contradictions, for example from the Patient Protection Foundation , member of the Bundestag Karl Lauterbach and cancer doctors from the Berlin Charité and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf .
Organ donation bill
In 2019, Spahn initiated a nationwide debate on the future of organ donation . Due to the low number of donations compared to other European countries, Spahn proposed a far-reaching reorganization of organ donation. On January 16, 2020, a bill by Spahn and other members of the Bundestag from various parties, which provided for the introduction of a double objection rule for organ donation, failed in the Bundestag . Instead, an alternative draft, in which the Greens chairwoman Annalena Baerbock and other members of the Bundestag advocated an extended approval solution, received the required majority in parliament. Spahn received cross-party praise for the open debate and concrete measures to better pay the extraction hospitals.
In the first few weeks of 2020, Spahn reacted hesitantly to the beginning COVID-19 pandemic , which was declared an international health emergency by the WHO on January 30, 2020 . On March 8, 2020, over two months after an international warning from ProMED-mail on December 31, 2019, he recommended that major events be canceled. The recommendations of the German Pandemic Risk Analysis were implemented from mid-March 2020.
When the first case of infection was discovered in Germany in January 2020, Spahn said: “There is no reason for excessive concern”, Germany was well prepared. The Robert Koch Institute assessed the risk to the German population as low at this time. Almost two weeks later, on February 12, Jens Spahn told the health committee that the risk of a pandemic was “an unreal idea at the moment”.
Spahn initially rejected the entry controls required for weeks by the virologist Alexander Kekulé to identify coronavirus infected people at the airports and, in Kekulé's opinion, decided on them much too late. National solo attempts to restrict travel - for example to and from China, as imposed by Italy - rejected Spahn, as did the fever measurement of travelers. On February 24, Spahn stated that further protective measures (including cancellation of major events, closure of daycare centers and schools) could not be ruled out if the spread of the disease increased. Two days later, Spahn called on the health ministers of the federal states in a telephone conference to “activate their pandemic plans and prepare for their possible entry into force”.
After the number of infections in Germany had risen to 670 cases at the beginning of March, Spahn called for people not to travel to particularly affected regions in Italy, but also in North Rhine-Westphalia. On March 4, Spahn pointed out in a government statement that supplies of breathing masks and protective clothing were running out. In the same month, allegations were raised from the pharmaceutical trade industry and by resident doctors, according to which warnings to Spahn and the Ministry of Health about imminent delivery bottlenecks for medical protective equipment such as mouth and nose protection (MNS) and respiratory masks (FFP2 and FFP3 masks) were raised as early as February. received, but not answered. The Hamburg Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians criticized the fact that the federal government's promised help with procurement had failed to materialize. After complaints from many German medical practices about the lack of protective clothing, Spahn announced the first delivery of ten million masks. Spahn admitted negligence in answering the large number of inquiries. It was inconceivable "that such a penny product suddenly [had] such a defect and at the same time was just as difficult to get".
As the pandemic progressed, he advocated a tightening of the Infection Protection Act , which provides for greater opportunities for the federal government to intervene in the previous areas of competence of the states . Among other things, Spahn initiated a debate about a temporary cell phone location of the population via government access to cell phone data. The domestic production capacities for masks are gradually being expanded. Up to 50 million pieces are to be made available per month from August.
Application for the CDU chairmanship
On October 29, 2018, he announced that he would run for the office of party chairman alongside the eventual winner Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Friedrich Merz in December 2018 at the federal party conference of the CDU . In the election on December 7, 2018, he received 157 votes (around 15.7 percent) in the first ballot and was thus defeated by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Friedrich Merz, who went to a runoff. The Süddeutsche Zeitung saw Spahn as the “true winner” of the election despite the defeat. On February 25, 2020, he announced that he would not be running for the successor to Kramp-Karrenbauer himself, but would support Armin Laschet .
About the support of the Andean Pact for Friedrich Merz around the CDU party chairmanship, Spahn stated:
"I can understand that decades of companions who have regularly formed travel groups with each other still support each other today."
From 2006 to 2010 he was involved as founder of a lobby agency for pharmaceutical clients called "Politas" through a civil law company. At the same time he sat from 2005–2009 as chairman of the CDU in the health committee of the German Bundestag , of which he had been a member since 2002. In this activity Spahn took part in health policy debates, e. B. the liberalization of the pharmacy market. His business partner and friend worked during this time. a. for the DocMorris mail order pharmacy and the pharmaceutical wholesaler Celesio . A report by Focus described the parliamentary activity and his work as a health politician in connection with paid sideline jobs for the pharmaceutical industry as an "interesting business model" and accused him of possible financial conflicts of interest .
From 2017 to 2018, in addition to his work as Federal Minister of Health, Spahn was privately involved in Pareton GmbH , which develops software for submitting tax returns. He has been criticized by the media, politicians and Transparency International for the possible conflict of interests between his responsibility for the regulation of financial technology companies as part of his work as State Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and his private financial participation in a company of the same type . According to information from the Süddeutsche Zeitung , he intends to sell his shares and to repay the government subsidies of 3,000 euros received as a so-called business angel . He previously admitted that he had received this state subsidy for his participation after he justified his investment of 15,000 euros in the start-up company with purely professional interests as the Federal Government Commissioner for start-ups . The tax office investigated against Pareton . The company was targeted by the tax authorities in 2015 after the Stuttgart Chamber of Tax Consultants announced in October 2014 that the agency was not recognized as a tax consultancy company. In Bietigheim-Bissingen , the local tax office prohibited the company from providing assistance in tax matters. In the summer of 2018, Spahn gave up his shares in the company.
Positions, work and reception
Spahn is counted on the conservative wing of the CDU. According to a portrait by ZEIT , he described himself as “liberal-conservative”. Spahn expressly distanced himself from right-wing extremist positions on several occasions and emphasized his intention to act against “right-wing Islam” as well.
Migration and Refugees
In November 2015, Spahn published a book entitled Ins Offene , in which Boris Palmer , Julia Klöckner , Klaus von Dohnanyi , Wolfgang Ischinger , Markus Söder and Markus Kerber, among others , present their views on the refugee crisis in Europe from 2015 . In the book, Spahn pleads for a more open discourse on migration policy, speaks of a “disruption of the state” and in this context criticized the refugee policy of Chancellor Angela Merkel .
In July 2017 he told the world that those who “come to us” from the Arab cultural area are “often shaped by an uptight sexual morality, by the non-equality of women, the rejection of Jews or gays”. The immigrants would have to relearn how to live in an open and permissive society, otherwise German society would run the risk of becoming “more anti-Semitic , more anti- gay , more macho and more affinity for violence” than it has been up to now. This statement caused praise from Alexander Gauland ( AfD ) in an open letter . A report by Münchner Merkur referred to the fact that there are also Germans who oppose the equality of sexual minorities , such as supporters of the “ Demo for Everyone ” supported by the AfD, and attested Spahn a profile on the “right side the Chancellor ”.
At the Junge Union's Germany Day , Spahn called the result of the 2017 federal election “drastic”. He sees the reasons for this in a loss of confidence among the electorate, also with regard to the federal government's refugee policy. In a guest article for the FAZ in November 2018, he described the question of migration as a “white elephant in the room ”. There is still a "disordered, predominantly male immigration of the size of cities like Kassel or Rostock" that needs to be controlled. As health minister, Spahn spoke out in favor of determining the age of migrants using ultrasound as an alternative to x-rays . Age has an impact on asylum procedures and, if necessary, on criminal proceedings, so a way must be found to determine this in a minimally invasive way.
Middle East Policy
In July 2019, the news magazine Der Spiegel called Spahn an “Israel fan”. He played a key role in a U-turn in German Middle East policy and in 2018, together with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas , achieved that the Federal Republic abstained from the annual vote on the WHO resolution on Palestine instead of agreeing to it as in previous years. The resolution is controversial because it explicitly highlights Israel as the only country.
Finance and European policy
Spahn speaks out in favor of a cautious exit from the expansionary monetary policy of the European Central Bank . This should not be initiated “too late”.
Spahn excludes a haircut for Greece after the Euro treaties and calls for a "swift" implementation of the agreed reforms.
Spahn advocates closer cooperation between the EU member states in the areas of defense, migration, security, and digitization and speaks out against the communitisation of debts in the euro zone.
He supports the European Parliament's call for a free Interrail ticket for young people in the EU.
In connection with the 2017 German Evangelical Church Congress , Spahn reprimanded the churches for taking too often a position on socio-political issues. "You should concentrate more on your core issues - that is, pastoral care, conveyance of faith or even charity."
Jens Spahn is committed to equal opportunities for homosexual partnerships . He regretted that his party was "wrongly conservative" on homosexual adoption rights. In an interview with WELT , he said that the voters of the CDU are in many ways further than the party itself. Spahn voted in the Bundestag at the end of June 2017 for what is known as “ marriage for all ”.
Since his first years in the Bundestag, Spahn has campaigned for generation-fair politics. He sees a need for action in the demographics-proof restructuring of the health and pension system and advocates anchoring intergenerational equity in the Basic Law.
In December 2019, the Federal Cabinet passed a draft law by Jens Spahn banning conversion therapies for minors. The law was passed by the Bundestag on May 7, 2020; It should come into force in mid-2020.
In an interview at the beginning of March 2018, Spahn contradicted the claim that without the food banks people in Germany would starve. Rather, the boards ensure that food is not thrown away, which is an important task. Germany has one of the best social systems in the world, with Hartz IV "everyone has what they need to live". The statutory basic security is "measured precisely with great effort and regularly adjusted". Hartz IV does not mean poverty, but is "the response of our solidarity community to poverty". Spahn's statements met with a majority of rejection. Leading opposition politicians, including Sahra Wagenknecht and Robert Habeck as well as SPD parliamentary deputy Ralf Stegner , practiced z. T. sharp criticism. Spahn received approval from his own parliamentary group; the former Eastern Commissioner of the Federal Government, Christian Hirte , emphasized, “that with Hartz IV we are trying to ensure that nobody falls completely through the cracks. And it's good that we have such a well-developed welfare state in Germany. ”According to a survey published by Tagesspiegel and ZDF , 55 percent of those questioned believed Spahn's statements to be false, and 37 percent agreed with him.
In a petition, around 210,000 signatories asked Spahn to live on Hartz IV for a month. He refused. When asked, Spahn later said that he knew that life with Hartz IV was not easy. He did not relativize poverty, but only described the legal situation.
In November 2018, Spahn proposed increasing social security contributions for childless couples. Parents with children, on the other hand, should be relieved. The proposal met with approval in his own parliamentary group, with the financial politician Sepp Müller suggesting implementation “better today than tomorrow”. Social security only works with children. Members of the FDP and SPD parliamentary groups in the Bundestag were much more reserved . Both DGB board member Annelie Buntenbach and Labor Minister Hubertus Heil spoke of a “punishment” for childless people.
In a guest post by ZEIT in 2014, Spahn spoke out in favor of maintaining the prescription requirement for the morning-after pill . A "heated debate", as it is led by some participants in the discussion, is not helpful. He also referred to existing side effects , doubts about the effectiveness of levonorgestrel as an active ingredient and the unquestionable prescription of the normal birth control pill , which has a much lower dose of hormones. Previously, contributions from Spahn, including a tweet with the wording “You have to keep saying: They are not Smarties”, caused considerable controversy. In the spring of 2018, the Federal Association of Gynecologists stated that the 2015 repeal of the prescription requirement was one of the reasons for an increase in abortions since then. The chairman of the association, Christian Albring, warned of a subsequent evaluation of the prescription release announced by the Ministry of Health and retrospectively confirmed Spahn's concerns.
In mid-March 2018, Spahn positioned himself in the discussion about the reform of Section 219a StGB : “I am surprised by the standards: When it comes to the life of animals, there are some who want to advertise abortions now, uncompromising. But in this debate it is sometimes no longer taken into account that it is about unborn human life. ”Women's rights activists, the political coalition partner and numerous German media expressed harsh criticism of his statements.
Spahn campaigned for a standardization of salaries for freelance therapists at the highest level currently paid in Germany. Physio and occupational therapists , speech therapists and podiatrists earned “far too little” compared to other health professions. This must be changed, "otherwise the industry will bleed out". Furthermore, a cash register approval should be made easier.
In January 2019, Spahn introduced an amendment to the Appointments Service and Supply Act (TSVG), which stipulated that the Federal Ministry of Health should decide which therapies should be paid for by the health insurance companies. This also includes treatments "whose benefits according to the principles of evidence-based medicine have not yet been proven". The chairman of the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care , Jürgen Windeler , spoke of a “step backwards” from the standards already achieved. In the future, treatment methods could be introduced into care that are of no use or even harmful. The Federal Joint Committee (GBA) is responsible for the previous decision-making authority for the catalog of benefits of the statutory health insurance . Its chairman, the former Saarland Minister of Health Josef Hecken (CDU), criticized Spahn's approach as a “complete break in the system”.
As Federal Minister of Health, Spahn helped set up the Concerted Action Care (KAP). The emergency care program for the elderly has been incorporated into the KAP . At the open house of the Ministry of Health on August 26, 2018, Jens Spahn said about the emergency care program for the elderly: "This will come into force on January 1, 2019 and I assume that the first nursing staff will be hired in January."
In an interview with the NZZ in spring 2018, Jens Spahn expressed concerns about the security situation in major German cities: “The German administration works very efficiently when it comes to delivering tax assessments. In the case of drug dealers who are caught by the police for the twentieth time, the authorities often seem powerless, ”and referred to“ working-class quarters ”in cities like Duisburg , Essen and Berlin , where the impression is that the“ state is no longer willing or is able to enforce law. ”This statement was commented on with astonishment by several daily newspapers, in particular in the cities mentioned. The chairman of the police union GdP described it as "incomprehensible when federal politicians denounce an imbalance in law and order, where it is actually in their hands to change these abuses for years". The Lord Mayor of Duisburg called Spahn's statements “outrageous and untrue”, stoking up prejudice and also devaluing the work of many people on site, and Essen's Lord Mayor Thomas Kufen (CDU) also offered Spahn generalizations that were “not helpful in the matter” . Essen is one of the safest big cities in Germany. A report by the Rheinische Post , on the other hand, quoted several experts who supported Spahn's approach. The criminologist Rita Steffes-enn confirmed the existing problem of evidence of drug offenses , and the chairman of the German Judges' Association , Jens Gnisa , stated that the criminal justice system had become the eye of a needle as a result of "neglect by politics." Both politicians from the respective state governments and the opposition, including Boris Pistorius (SPD) and Herbert Reul (CDU), referred to current efforts by the federal and state governments to improve internal security.
After serious riots broke out during the protests at the G20 summit in Hamburg , Spahn called the participants in the protests “masked left-wing fascists ”. At the same time he accused the Left Party and parts of the SPD and the Greens of being “completely blind in the left eye”.
The Spiegel editor Florian Gathmann criticized Spahn as a “ populist ” because, in addition to a full veil ban and the restriction of dual citizenship, he also advocated the introduction of an Islamic law and publicly polemicized against so-called “muscle machos” or “big city hipsters ”. Due to the ubiquitous use of English in German and European cities - what he calls elitist distinction - the latter should be seen as "the obvious symptom of a regrettable cultural alignment ". Both in the context of his admission to the Cabinet of Ministers and his candidacy for the CDU chairmanship, Spahn was described by press voices as a " provocateur ". Spahn's biographer Michael Bröcker also attested to a tactic that included tough provocation, for example at party congresses. “He is a hardliner in integration policy by conviction . But he also knows that his advances are popular. "
In the 2017 federal election campaign, according to a report by the Grimme Lab , a facility of the Grimme Institute , Spahn used the option of microtargeting on Facebook to target younger AfD sympathizers with dark ads calling for “Secure external borders for a safe Europe”. Another post addressed to younger residents of big cities contained a picture of people of different skin colors and the message "Germany is great".
In the course of the introduction of the Appointments Service and Supply Act (TSVG), Spahn was accused of worsening the care of the mentally ill with the regulation of tiered access to psychotherapy. Patients should no longer be able to turn directly to psychotherapists of their choice, but should be assessed in advance by special diagnosticians. This model met with broad rejection from psychotherapists and patient associations and was viewed as making access to psychotherapy more difficult. A petition demanding the deletion of the planned regulation from the TSVG reached more than 200,000 signatories, making it the most signed petition ever launched to the Bundestag. The passage in the TSVG was subsequently deleted, but Spahn basically stuck to the regulation and tried to introduce it again elsewhere.
Spahn has been criticized several times in connection with deliveries and tenders for the manufacture of respiratory masks that are made in Germany and are to be used during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a member of the advisory board of Youth Against AIDS , Spahn supports an initiative initiated and led by young people, which conducts “awareness-raising and prevention work at eye level”. He is also a volunteer than by self-report curator for the German AIDS Foundation , the German Federal Environmental Foundation , the German Federal Cultural Foundation operates as well as Chairman of the Advisory Board of Health 2015 structural policy for the Society for the Study questions.
Spahn is a member of the German-Atlantic Society and chairman of the Europabrücke .
- Cabinet Merkel III ( Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Finance , 2015 to 2018)
- Cabinet Merkel IV ( Federal Minister of Health , since 2018)
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- Jens Spahn (co-author): How much faith does the country need? Answers from politics, church and society. Herder, Freiburg 2017, ISBN 978-3-45137846-1 .
- Jens Spahn (co-author): Die Zukunftsmacher: #Germany 2029/40 bright minds under 40 and where they want to lead our country. Econ, Berlin, 2017, ISBN 978-3-43020248-0 .
- Jens Spahn (Preface): APS White Paper on Patient Safety: Safety in Health Care: Rethinking, Improving in a Targeted Way. MWV Medizinisch Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, Berlin, 2018, ISBN 978-3-95466410-8 .
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|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Spahn, Jens Georg (full name)|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||German politician (CDU), Member of the Bundestag|
|DATE OF BIRTH||May 16, 1980|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Ahaus|