Martin Schulz

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Martin Schulz (2017)
Martin Schulz signature

Martin Schulz (born December 20, 1955 in Hehlrath , today Eschweiler ) is a German politician ( SPD ). From 1987 to 1998 Schulz was mayor of Würselen . He was a member of the European Parliament from 1994 to 2017 and its President from 2012 to 2017 . From 1999 to 2018, Schulz was a member of the federal executive committee and the party presidency of the SPD. From 2017 to 2018 he served as SPD party chairman .

For the 2017 federal election , Schulz ran as the SPD's candidate for chancellor. The party achieved the worst election result in post-war history with 20.5%. Schulz moved into parliament via the SPD's state list in North Rhine-Westphalia and has been a member of the Bundestag ever since .

Youth and School Education (1955 to 1974)

Schulz was born in Hehlrath in 1955 as the youngest of five children. His father Albert came from the Saarland and was a social democratic embossed police official in the middle service and the village policeman. His mother Clara was a housewife , had a conservative - Catholic family background and was one of the founding members of the CDU local association Würselen. Until 1966, Martin Schulz was a primary school student at the Catholic boys' school in Lehnstrasse in Würselen. From 1966 to 1974 he attended the private Catholic Heilig-Geist-Gymnasium in the Broich district of Würselen . Schulz became the student representative . At the age of 16 he was particularly interested in the emergence of National Socialism . In the 1974 school year he graduated from the Heilig-Geist-Gymnasium with a technical college entrance qualification .

Education, professional activity (1974 to 1994) and private matters

After a year of unemployment and through the placement of his former headmaster, Schulz completed commercial training as a bookseller from 1975 to 1977 . In the five years after completing his dual vocational training , he worked for various publishers and bookstores in the greater Aachen area , until in 1982 he and his sister Doris founded their own bookstore and publishing house in Würselen, of which he was co-owner until 1994.

Schulz became an alcoholic in the mid-1970s . In an interview with the magazine “ Bunte ” he said: “I have nothing to hide. I fought the battles that I had to fight in my life - and successfully. I drank everything I could get. ”The worst thing was when you woke up in the morning with the feeling that you had failed. Every day you plan to do better, but you can't do it the next day either. “It's a depressing feeling. Such processes are slowly breaking your backbone. ”He has been abstinent since 1980 .

Schulz is married to the landscape architect Inge Schulz. He is Roman Catholic , has two grown children and lives in Würselen. According to his own account, his belief in God has "been lost over the years." In addition to German, he speaks French , English , Dutch , Spanish and Italian , and according to media reports, each is fluent. Martin Schulz is a fan of 1. FC Köln and sits on the advisory board .

In his youth, Martin Schulz played football (left-back) at SV Rhenania Würselen 05 , and in 1972 he was West German B youth runner-up. About his time as a youth footballer he once said: “I was totally crazy about football. My bible was the ' kicker ', my God was Wolfgang Overath . ”However, he had to give up playing football in 1975 because of a knee injury and severe cruciate ligament damage. Military service had to Schulz unable to pay because he as not capable of military service was retired (T5).

Schulz was temporarily co-editor of the magazine Neue Gesellschaft / Frankfurter Hefte .

During the last five months of the 2017 federal election campaign, the journalist Markus Feldenkirchen was able to “travel with Schulz in a taxi, on the plane and on foot”, accompany him on fifty appointments, e.g. B. at strategy meetings and late currywurst dinners. As agreed, the resulting report was only published in the news magazine Der Spiegel after the election . The model for this was a portrait in the New Yorker about some of Barack Obama's last days in office , which was published in November 2016.

SPD politician (1975 until today)

Local politician (1984 to 1998)

At the age of 19, Schulz joined the SPD and was involved with the Jusos in Würselen from 1975 . In 1984 he was elected to the Würselen city council, to which he belonged almost two terms as SPD city ​​councilor until 1998. In 1987 he was elected honorary mayor of Würselen by the city council, unopposed. At the age of 31 he was the youngest mayor of North Rhine-Westphalia . As mayor, against the resistance of a citizens' initiative, he pushed through the construction of a leisure pool, which the city subsidizes with almost one million euros annually. In 1998 he renounced the mayor's office in favor of his 1994 mandate in the European Parliament. From 1996 to 2010 he was district chairman of the SPD Aachen.

European politician (1994 to 2017)

In the European elections in 1994 Schulz was elected to the European Parliament and was chairman of the German SPD regional group from 2000 to 2004. From the 2004 European elections to January 2012, he was chairman of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament , which in 2009 was renamed the Progressive Alliance of Social Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D). Since November 13, 2009 he has been the SPD's new European Commissioner in order to improve the coordination of party work with the EU political level. He is a member of the non-partisan European Union Germany . Schulz described himself in 2016 as "Chairman of the TTIP coordination group in the European Parliament".

Martin Schulz as President of the EU Parliament at the time (2014)

After the European elections in 2009 , Schulz attracted attention when he prevented his group from quickly approving a second term in office for the Barroso Commission and instead brought up the Belgian liberal Guy Verhofstadt as a candidate for the office of Commission President together with the Green group leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit . Schulz later eased his resistance and only demanded that Barroso have to comply with certain political conditions of the Social Democrats. In return, an informal agreement was reached between the conservative EPP and the PES, according to which Schulz was to succeed the Polish EPP member Jerzy Buzek as President of the European Parliament in 2012 . At the beginning of June 2011, he also formally announced that he would run for this office. On January 17, 2012, Schulz was elected President of the European Parliament with the required majority in the first ballot.

Candidate for the EU Commission Presidency

Martin Schulz during a debate in the 2014 European election campaign with his liberal rival Guy Verhofstadt

On March 1, 2014, Schulz was elected the joint top candidate for the 2014 European elections at the Congress of European Socialists with 91.1% of the vote . He was aiming for the presidency of the Commission , so for the first time in the history of the European Union a top candidate for the office of President of the EU Commission was put up. The other European parties reacted to this and also put up top candidates. However, the Group of Social Democrats emerged from the election only as the second strongest force, behind the European People's Party with Jean-Claude Juncker as the top candidate. Schulz then supported Juncker's nomination by the European Council , as some heads of government, such as British Prime Minister David Cameron , spoke out against the top candidate principle.

Following the electoral defeat of the European Socialists, the SPD demanded that Schulz be nominated as the new German EU Commissioner, but the CDU refused, and Chancellor Merkel proposed her CDU party colleague Günther Oettinger again.

The Group of the Progressive Alliance of Social Democrats in the European Parliament elected Schulz as chairman of the group at its meeting on June 18, 2014 in Brussels . He resigned when he was re-elected President of Parliament on July 1, 2014 with 66.8%. This was also due to a secret agreement with Manfred Weber , published on January 10, 2017 , which ensured Schulz the support of the EPP Group in the election, but in return provided for a member of the EPP as President of Parliament after half of the legislative period. In November 2016 there were signals that Schulz wanted to keep the post in the second half. However, these did not come true, as he announced his move to federal politics a few days later.

In February 2017, Schulz left the European Parliament. Arndt Kohn moved up for him .

He was a member of the Federal Assembly in the election of the German Federal President in 2004 , 2009 , 2010 , 2012 and 2017 .

Chancellor candidate (2017) and party chairman (2017 to 2018)

Martin Schulz at the SPD federal party conference on March 19, 2017 in Berlin

On November 24, 2016, Schulz announced his move to federal politics . He did not want to run for another term as President of the European Parliament, but instead took first place on the state list of the SPD North Rhine-Westphalia in the 2017 federal election. The conservative European People's Party claimed the post of President of the European Parliament for itself, so that Schulz was given little chance for another candidacy. Antonio Tajani , who had previously been one of the Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament, was elected to succeed him.

At an election event on September 20, 2017 in Gelsenkirchen , four days before the election

On January 24, 2017, the then party chairman Sigmar Gabriel renounced the candidacy for chancellor, he spoke out in favor of Schulz as the top candidate and SPD chairman. On January 29, 2017, Martin Schulz was unanimously nominated by the SPD party executive as a candidate for chancellor for the federal election on September 24, 2017.

According to its own statements, the SPD recorded more than 10,000 party entries within the first five weeks of being nominated. On March 19, 2017, Schulz was elected party chairman, the best result of an SPD party chairman in the post-war period, and as the SPD's candidate for chancellor at an extraordinary federal party congress with 100% of the valid votes.

In the period after the nomination, the SPD initially made significant gains in surveys nationwide; this increase was referred to in the media as the “Schulz Effect” or the “Schulz Train”.

Martin Schulz in the German Bundestag (2019)

In the three state elections in Saarland , Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia that followed his nomination , the SPD lost some of the votes and was unable to achieve its electoral goals of taking over or maintaining government participation. Since then, the SPD's survey results have decreased again. In the reporting, the Schulz train became the Schulz hype , as its short-term popularity ebbed like a flash in the pan. According to the official final result, the SPD finally achieved 20.5% of the votes cast in the Bundestag election, the worst result in post-war history. Schulz moved into parliament via his party's state list in North Rhine-Westphalia and has been a member of the Bundestag ever since .

On December 7, 2017, he was re-elected as party chairman at the SPD party congress with 81.9 percent, the fifth worst result since 1946.

At the end of 2017 it became known that Schulz had joined the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold in mid-December .

On February 7, 2018, following the conclusion of the coalition negotiations between the Union and the SPD, it was announced that, contrary to his statements during the election campaign and after the federal elections, he would become Foreign Minister and hand over the chairmanship to Andrea Nahles . In response to pressure from within the party, on February 9, 2018, he declared in writing that he would “waive entry into the federal government”. On February 13, 2018, he announced his resignation from the office of SPD party chairman.

Political positions

Martin Schulz belongs within the SPD to the conservative Seeheimer Kreis of the SPD parliamentary group.

Otherwise, Martin Schulz distinguishes his focus on European politics .

European politics

Giorgio Napolitano and Martin Schulz in the European Parliament (2014)

Schulz is committed to strengthening Europe and the European institutions. In 2011 and 2012 he called for the introduction of EU bonds (“Eurobonds”). In his opinion, this is the only way to defuse the sovereign debt crisis in the euro area . In 2013 he advocated the creation of a “European debt redemption fund” to shift the national debts of the euro member countries, which exceed 60 percent of the gross domestic product, to the European level. In 2015 he called for changes to a European banking union . Shortly after the Brexit referendum in Great Britain in mid-2016, Schulz and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel presented a ten-point plan for reforming the EU in 2016 . It is u. a. the building of a powerful European government under the control of the European Parliament called for. Schulz is one of the 27 initiators of the Charter of Digital Fundamental Rights of the European Union published in November 2016 .

Schulz often emphasized that the European Union was the best means of warding off the "demons of the 20th century" such as racism , xenophobia and anti-Semitism . After the UK's vote to leave , Schulz warned in mid-2016: "If we smash the instruments we use to banish demons, we will set them free again."

In the 2017 Bundestag election campaign, he announced that, in the event of a chancellorship, he would campaign for greater European integration in the first 100 days .

In September 2017, Schulz surprised his party with the demand made in the TV duel with the Chancellor to break off EU accession negotiations with Turkey, which also surprised the EU foreign ministers.

On December 7, 2017, he declared at the SPD federal party congress a. a. that he “ wants to transform the EU into the United States of Europe (VSE) within the next seven years with a common euro zone budget and a European finance minister”.

Social and labor policy

In the election campaign for the 2017 federal election, Martin Schulz spoke out in favor of revising parts of the Agenda 2010 initiated by the SPD in 2003 under the then Chancellor and SPD Chairman Gerhard Schröder . In particular, he stated that under the term unemployment benefit Q , he wanted to extend the duration of unemployment benefit payments to up to 48 months for older people taking part in a further training course . In addition, Schulz no longer wants to allow unreasonable fixed-term employment . He also advocates expanding protection against dismissal for employees who organize works council elections.

Schulz announced that in the first 100 days of his chancellorship he would submit a law to close the income gap between men and women , provided he becomes chancellor. He wants to introduce the legal right to return to a full-time position after working part-time and limit manager salaries . He also called for the nationwide exemption from fees for education “from daycare to university or master craftsman ”.

In the event of an election victory, Schulz planned to give the employers half of the additional contributions to the statutory health insurance , ie "on an equal basis" .

Another point in Schulz's plan is the so-called chance account for every adult with permanent residence in Germany. It provides for an initial amount of 5,000 euros per person, which should increase to 20,000 euros in the long term. This is intended to finance further training , business start-ups and time off for adults at their own discretion .

Defense policy

In defense policy, Schulz rejects the NATO benchmark of two percent of the gross national product per member state for armaments expenditure , as otherwise he fears a “highly armed Germany that is armed to the teeth”.

Family policy

Schulz advocates " marriage for everyone ".

Budgetary policy

In his future plan for Germany, Schulz calls for the state to be obliged to invest . This would result in the state being obliged to invest budget surpluses that exceed a certain limit in the infrastructure . According to Schulz, this could mean that 30 billion euros could flow into education , the expansion of fiber optic networks and other infrastructure projects over the next four years .

Positions on the grand coalition

On the evening of the election after the federal election on September 24, 2017, Schulz ruled out another grand coalition. Even after the exploratory talks in Jamaica were broken off , on November 20, 2017, he reaffirmed the decision not to join a grand coalition again.

On December 7, 2017, he promoted "open-ended talks" with the Union parties at the SPD federal party conference. After the exploratory talks, he promoted coalition talks with the Union on January 21, 2018 at the special party conference in Bonn.


Speech in the Knesset

Martin Schulz with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (2016)

In a speech in German in the Knesset on February 12, 2014 , Schulz discussed, among other things, Israeli settlement construction and the relationship between Israel and Palestine .

The speech was sharply criticized by right-wing members of the Knesset and by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ( Likud ). Netanyahu accused him of “selective perception” and a “one-sided view of the Middle East conflict ”.

The entire faction of the national-religious ruling party HaBajit haJehudi (“Jewish home”) left the meeting room in a tumult during Schulz's speech. The Minister for Economic Affairs and Trade Naftali Bennett (HaBajit haJehudi) called the address “a single mendacious moral sermon”. The Minister for Culture and Sport Limor Livnat was indignant. In contrast, the leaders of the left opposition parties, Zehava Gal-On ( Meretz-Jachad ) and Jitzchak Herzog ( Avoda ), distanced themselves from the proceedings in parliament. In Germany, too, the speech was controversial in politics and the media. Elmar Brok (CDU), Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defense Policy in the European Parliament, described the failure to mention Hamas' rocket attacks as a mistake and the fact that some MPs left Parliament as an "overreaction".

Schulz himself pointed out that US Secretary of State John Kerry had also received similar reactions. In the end, MPs from several parliamentary groups, including members of the government, applauded standing.

Conflict with Silvio Berlusconi

In 2003 there was a scandal during a session of the European Parliament . Schulz criticized the present Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, among other things, for his dual function as head of government and media entrepreneur. Berlusconi then suggested that he play the role of kapo in a film about concentration camps that could be shot in Italy:

“Signor Schulz, so che in Italia c'è un produttore che sta montando un film sui campi di concentramento nazisti: La suggerirò per il ruolo di kapò. Lei è perfetto! "

“Mr. Schulz, I know that there is a producer in Italy who is making a film about Nazi concentration camps. I will recommend you for the role of kapo. You are perfect!"

- Silvio Berlusconi : Discussion in the European Parliament on July 2, 2003

In the subsequent discussion in the European Parliament, Berlusconi wanted this statement to be understood as a joke.

Accusation of favoring close employees

In April 2017, as part of its discharge decision for the 2015 financial year, the European Parliament reprimanded two personnel matters for which Schulz was responsible as President of Parliament. The background to this was, on the one hand, the payment of foreign allowances in the amount of around 20,000 euros, which an employee of the parliamentary administration had received during ten months of work in Berlin, although the center of his life had already been in Berlin. The employee, a confidante of Schulz, was later his campaign manager. On the other hand, Schulz was accused of having signed off irregular promotions of close employees in a presidential resolution, which secured these financially advantageous posts after his resignation. Schulz described the complaint as an election campaign maneuver by "anti-Europeans, conservatives and Greens" and referred to the decision of the European Anti-Fraud Office not to initiate an official investigation.

honors and awards

Martin Schulz on stage at
Katschhof after the 2015 Charlemagne Prize ceremony . From left to right you can see: Bernd Büttgens, Armin Laschet , François Hollande , Martin Schulz, Joachim Gauck , King Felipe VI. , Petro Poroschenko , Sauli Niinistö , Simonetta Sommaruga , Hannelore Kraft , Marcel Philipp , Jean-Claude Juncker and Jürgen Linden



Web links

Commons : Martin Schulz  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

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  1. These are: David Remnick: Obama Reckons with a Trump Presidency . In: The New Yorker . 18th November 2016.