Network Berlin

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Network Berlin
Network Berlin.svg
Founding: 1999
Board Falko Mohrs (speaker)

Sabine Dittmar

Christian Lange,

Martin Rosemann
Susann Rüthrich,
Markus Töns

Executive Director: Arne Grimm

The Network Berlin is a coalition of progressive SPD - members of parliament , as networkers are called. In addition to the parliamentary left and - in the social democratic spectrum - right-wing and conservative Seeheimer Kreis , it is the third current within the parliamentary group . Within the party it is attributed to the reformers .

The network was founded in 1999 by ten SPD members between the ages of 23 and 43. The initiative came from Hans-Peter Bartels , Kurt Bodewig and Hubertus Heil as well as Jürgen Neumeyer , the first network managing director. The Berlin network is still considered to be an association of a younger generation of parliamentarians, although membership has not been linked to a certain age since 2002. In the 18th legislative period, the Berlin network had strengthened itself, also due to the fact that it was still much larger at the time, and - according to its own account - tied almost a quarter of the parliamentary group in the Bundestag.

Prominent representatives of Netzwerk Berlin include the former parliamentary group chairman and current vice-president of the German Bundestag Thomas Oppermann , the former party chairman Sigmar Gabriel and the former state minister Aydan Özoğuz . All three are also organized in the Seeheimer Kreis . Many networkers are also represented in the deputy parliamentary group : Katja Mast (work and social affairs, women, senior citizens, family and youth), Eva Högl (internal affairs and law, consumer protection, culture and media) and Sören Bartol (transport, construction and digital infrastructure). Today's data protection officer of the Federal Government, Ulrich Kelber, was a member of the network as MP, as was Christian Lange , State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection since December 2013. Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter is State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Michelle Müntefering has been State Minister for Foreign Culture in the Federal Foreign Office since 2018.

Since October 15, 2019, the following members of the Bundestag have been on the executive board of Netzwerk Berlin :

Speaker: Falko Mohrs , on the extended board: Sabine Dittmar , Christian Lange , Martin Rosemann , Susann Rüthrich and Markus Töns .


In 1992 only eight of the SPD members of the Bundestag were under 40 years of age. At that time they organized for the first time as so-called youngsters within the parliamentary group. The first youngster speaker was the future Minister of State and networker Hans Martin Bury . In 1998 there were already 36 young SPD MPs elected to parliament who formed the group. Apart from their age, the youngsters had no political or substantive similarities that went beyond what is usual in the SPD parliamentary group. This gave rise to the idea of founding a network as a generation context that pursues a joint content-related project and plays a political role within the SPD parliamentary group.

The foundation had two reasons:

  • Many personnel decisions in the SPD parliamentary group were dominated by the two traditional wings, which often make decisions based on the seniority principle . Most of the newly elected members of the Bundestag did not want to accept this.
  • The networkers criticized that the politics of the left was too conservative-traditionalist and that of the right-wing Seeheimer too unprincipled, pragmatic and modernist. They wanted to oppose the progressive reformism oriented towards basic values, which freed itself from the traditional, stereotyped right-left structure.

Part of the network can tie in with the established traditions of the undogmatic and socialist reformist movement of the Jusos , in particular Kurt Bodewig , Peter Friedrich , Kerstin Griese , Hubertus Heil , Eva Högl , Christian Lange , Michael Roth and Ute Vogt , which were established in the 1980s and 1990s belonged to the Juso federal executive board or were at the head of a district or state association.

Members and active members

After the federal election in 2002, the network partially abandoned its concept as a generational context. Since then, older SPD members can also become members. In 2002 there was an elected representative for the first time with a group of six speakers at the time, which has since been renamed the Executive Board. Double membership is possible in the Berlin network. A number of networkers and networkers who do not belong to the Board, are also members of one of the two traditional wing combinations in the fraction.

In addition to the MPs who call themselves invitations , the Berlin network is an open platform. Active members include, in particular, employees of the social democratic parliamentary offices in the Bundestag, but also employees from ministries and other political-administrative institutions in Berlin. In addition, the network aims to include interested parties from the fields of science, business, culture and the media.

At the same time there are anchors in the SPD state associations.


In the Bundestag session weeks, an open network meeting takes place in the Reichstag building, at which discussions are held with personalities from politics, business, science, media and culture. The network claims to think “beyond day-to-day politics”. The subsequent cozy get-together is part of the concept of networking . In addition, irregular congresses, conferences, seminars and meetings are organized, mostly in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert - or the Hans-Böckler-Foundation , some of which take place outside the federal capital. From 1999 to 2017 the network members have published the two-month magazine Berliner Republik . There are currently no more publications (as of September 2019). The former time - editor Tobias Dürr since 2001 editor in chief, who had previously networker Hans-Peter Bartels held the editorship. Chairwoman of the Berlin Republic e. V. is Kirsten Lühmann , her deputies are Martin Rabanus and Thomas Hitschler .


The central topic of the network was the discussion about a new basic program of the SPD, for which a separate impulse with the title Die neue SPD was published in 2003 . “We Social Democrats rely on the ability and willingness to be free and responsible. We want to work together with all committed people in our country and all over the world to create a better world, ”says the impulse. “In the history of social democracy, this idea of ​​a different and better coexistence has borne the name of democratic socialism. Even if this term loses its delimiting meaning and political radiance, what it has always stood for remains an absolute obligation for social democracy. "

Despite their contributions to the program debate and the discussions in their “theoretical organ” Berlin Republic , the networkers are “young, unideological, pragmatic and well-behaved” (taz) and largely adapted supporters of the reform policy outlined by Gerhard Schröder's Agenda 2010 . The FAZ says: “A group that sees itself as centrist and wanted to support Schröder's reform policy has a hard time gaining an angular profile. Also, unlike the Seeheimers, the networkers never saw themselves as a 'voting machine', but rather as a refreshing cultural event in a people's party that carried the old ideology from the past century with them. "

In the run-up to the 2013 federal elections, the Berlin network developed food for thought for the SPD election program: “Our proposals for good governance”. Together with guests and those affected from outside, the members of parliament took up four topics in this program debate: “Living Democracy”, “Preventive Welfare State 2.0”, “Work and Life 2020” and “Germany's Role in the World”. The results of this think tank have been summarized in a brochure.



Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Daniela Forkmann: The Social Democratic deputy network of young Berlin . VS, Wiesbaden 2005, p. 52
  2. Daniela Forkmann: The Social Democratic deputy network of young Berlin . VS, Wiesbaden 2011, p. 36 ff.
  3. Current issue - Berlin Republic. Retrieved September 10, 2019 .
  4. Press release of November 23, 2013 ( Memento of December 12, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) accessed on December 7, 2013