Olaf Scholz (born June 14, 1958 in Osnabrück ) is a German politician ( SPD ). Since March 2018 he has been Deputy Chancellor and Federal Minister of Finance of the Federal Republic of Germany. He is the SPD's candidate for Chancellor for the 2021 federal election .
From May to October 2001 he was Interior Senator of Hamburg , from October 2002 to March 2004 SPD General Secretary , from November 2007 to October 2009 Federal Minister for Labor and Social Affairs and from March 2011 to March 2018 First Mayor of Hamburg. From April 2000 to June 2004 and from November 2009 to March 2018 he was chairman of the SPD Hamburg and from November 2009 to December 2019 one of the deputy federal chairmen of the SPD. From February to April 2018 he was provisional federal chairman of the SPD.
Origin, professional career and private life
Family, studies and work
Scholz grew up as the oldest of three children in Hamburg-Rahlstedt . His parents worked in the textile industry. His brother Jens Scholz (born September 7, 1959 in Osnabrück) is an anesthesiologist and has been chairman of the board of the Schleswig-Holstein University Hospital since 2009 , the youngest brother Ingo Scholz is the managing director of an IT company in Hamburg. In the first school year Olaf Scholz attended elementary school in the district Bekassinenau Oldenfelde and then moved on to elementary school in the district Großlohering Grosslohe . After high school in 1977 at the high school Heegen in the district Rahlstedt-Ost and subsequent community service he started in 1978 at the University of Hamburg , a study of the jurisprudence in the context of single-stage legal education . He completed this in 1985. As a student, he lived in a shared apartment with the later State Councilor Andreas Rieckhof . He has been admitted to the bar since 1985 . Scholz is a partner in the law firm Zimmermann, Scholz und Partner in Hamburg, until his election to the Bundestag in 1998 he was a specialist lawyer for labor law and from 1990 to 1998 he was also a lawyer at the Central Association of German Consumer Cooperatives .
He was a member of the Hamburg initiative Mehr Zeit für Kinder . From November 2006 on, Scholz was the patron of the Education Against Crime project - a violence-prevention and school-promoting measure in a socially disadvantaged district of Hamburg. The project arose in 2005 from a student education movement in the district that Olaf Scholz supported as a patron.
Scholz joined the SPD in 1975 as a high school student, where he got involved with the Jusos (abbreviation for Young Socialists ), the youth organization of the SPD. From 1982 to 1988 he was Deputy Federal Juso Chairman, from 1987 to 1989 also Vice President of the International Union of Socialist Youth . In his Juso time he supported the Freudenberger Kreis (the Stamokap wing of the Juso university groups ) as well as the magazine spw and promoted "overcoming the capitalist economy" in articles. In it, Scholz criticizes the "aggressive-imperialist NATO", the Federal Republic as the "European stronghold of big business" and the social-liberal coalition, which puts the "bare maintenance of power above any form of substantive dispute".
Leadership positions in the SPD
District and state chairman in Hamburg (1994 to 2004/2009 to 2018)
Scholz was chairman of the SPD district association Altona from 1994 to 2000 and chairman of the SPD Hamburg from 2000 to 2004 . From November 6, 2009 to March 24, 2018, he held the latter office again. The Hamburg regional association confirmed Scholz in his office in 2012 with 94.2 percent, 2014 with 94.8 percent and 2016 with 97.4 percent of the votes.
Party executive (2001 to 2019) and general secretary (2002 to 2004)
From 2001 to 2019 he was a member of the SPD party executive in various functions .
From October 20, 2002 to March 21, 2004 (at that time the red-green government Schröder II ruled ) Scholz was General Secretary of the SPD. Elected with 91.3 percent of the vote at the 2002 party congress, he received only 52.6 percent when he was re-elected in 2003. After Gerhard Schröder's resignation as SPD chairman, Scholz also resigned.
Deputy Federal Chairman (2009 to 2019)
In November 2009, shortly after the 2009 Bundestag election , the SPD federal party congress elected him Deputy Federal Chairman with 85.7 percent of the vote. In December 2011 he was re-elected with 84.9 percent of the vote, in November 2013 with 67.3 percent of the vote, in December 2015 with 80.2 percent of the vote and in December 2017 with 59.2 percent of the vote. In 2009, 2013 and 2017 he achieved the worst result of all deputy federal chairmen and in 2011 and 2015 the second worst. After he was defeated in the election for the SPD chairmanship in 2019 , he no longer ran for office as deputy federal chairman.
Acting Party Chairman (2018)
After the resignation of Martin Schulz , Scholz took over the party chairmanship on February 13, 2018 as the longest-serving deputy party chairman by decision of the party presidium. At the same time, the parliamentary group leader Andrea Nahles was nominated by the presidium as a regular successor. There had been legal and political objections to her immediate appointment as acting party chairman. Scholz's provisional chairmanship ended with Nahles' election as party leader on April 22, 2018.
Unsuccessful candidacy for party chairmanship (2019)
In June 2019, Scholz ruled out a candidacy for the party chairmanship after Andrea Nahles resigned . He stated that a simultaneous activity as Federal Minister of Finance and party chairman was "not possible in terms of time" and that he did not want to be "a political actor". In August, Scholz announced that he wanted to run for party chairmanship after all, in a duo with Klara Geywitz . The team of Klara Geywitz and Olaf Scholz received after the first round of the membership decision on October 26, 2019, with 22.7 percent, the highest share of the six candidate duos standing for election. It qualified for the runoff election with the second-placed team Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans , which received 21.0 percent of the vote. On November 30, 2019 it was announced that Esken and Walter-Borjans had received 53.1 percent of the vote in the runoff election, Geywitz and Scholz 45.3 percent.
Candidate for Chancellor (2021)
On August 10, 2020, the party executive nominated Scholz as candidate for chancellor for the federal election in 2021 at the suggestion of party chairmen Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans . At the time, he was the most popular SPD politician in polls, but was controversial among the left wing of the party. At a party conference held online on May 9, 2021, Scholz was confirmed as candidate for chancellor with 96.2% of the votes cast.
Member of the Bundestag
On October 13, 2005 he was elected First Parliamentary Managing Director of the SPD parliamentary group. He held this office until his appointment as Federal Minister for Labor and Social Affairs on November 21, 2007. His successor was Thomas Oppermann . In addition, until he joined the federal government, Scholz was a member of the parliamentary control committee of the Bundestag, which oversees the work of the secret services .
On October 22, 2009, the SPD parliamentary group elected him as one of its nine deputy chairmen. Scholz resigned this office together with the Bundestag mandate on March 10, 2011 after he had been elected First Mayor of Hamburg three days earlier.
On October 30, 2020, he was nominated as a direct candidate in the constituency of Potsdam - Potsdam-Mittelmark II - Teltow-Fläming II in the 2021 federal election and on May 2, 2021 was elected to number 1 on the Brandenburg state list.
Hamburg Senator for the Interior (2001)
On May 30, 2001, Scholz succeeded the resigned Interior Senator Hartmuth Wrocklage in the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg ( Senate Runde ) led by Mayor Ortwin Runde . His term ended after the state election on 23 September 2001 with the election Ole von Beust ( CDU ) to the first mayor on October 31, 2001. His successor in the office of the interior minister was Ronald Schill ( party for a rule of law offensive ).
Federal Minister for Labor and Social Affairs (2007 to 2009)
After Franz Müntefering's withdrawal from the Federal Cabinet ( Merkel I cabinet ), Scholz was Federal Minister for Labor and Social Affairs from November 21, 2007, until a federal government without the participation of the SPD ( Merkel II cabinet ) was appointed after the 2009 federal election on October 28, 2009 .
First Mayor of Hamburg (2011 to 2018)
State election 2011
As the top candidate of the SPD, Scholz went to the early general election on February 20, 2011, which had become necessary after the breakdown of the black-green coalition in November. In the election, the SPD received an absolute majority with 62 members out of 121. At the constituent meeting of the Hamburg citizenship on March 7, 2011, Scholz was elected First Mayor with 62 of the 118 votes cast ( Senate Scholz I ), although the SPD MP Frank Wiesner was missing. So at least one member of the opposition must have voted for Scholz.
As the first mayor of Hamburg, Scholz was a member of the main committee and presidium of the German Association of Cities . His citizenship mandate, which he won for the first time in the 2011 election, has been suspended since his election as mayor, as the Hamburg constitution stipulates the separation of parliamentary mandate and government office.
Citizenship election 2015
In the 2015 general election , the SPD lost its absolute majority. A government coalition with the Greens helped Scholz to be re-elected as first mayor. In March 2018, he resigned to join the newly formed federal government as finance minister. His successor in the office of First Mayor was Peter Tschentscher (SPD).
Federal Minister of Finance (since 2018)
With the formation of a coalition of CDU , CSU and SPD at federal level ( Merkel IV cabinet ), Olaf Scholz was appointed Federal Minister of Finance and Deputy Chancellor on March 14, 2018 . He had previously negotiated the coalition agreement for the SPD and successfully campaigned for the approval of the SPD base for the grand coalition (GroKo) in the member vote as acting party leader .
Positions, controversies and reception
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung wrote in 2002: "Scholz made the steepest career that was possible for a Stamokap in the eighties ". "He was an apparatchik who listened petrified and then wanted to funnel the true teaching into us in lengthy speeches - without a smile!" The FAS quoted a companion. In the meantime, “Scholz can laugh, especially at the 'technical and factual nonsense' of his theses at the time.” When Scholz was elected directly to the Bundestag in 1998 , he specifically asked old enemies from Juso days for parliamentary advice. They were pleasantly amazed at his transformation.
The end of 2002, a few weeks after his election as SPD general secretary, he broke with the statement that the SPD must by appropriate child and family policy , in particular by expanding the child day care , "air superiority over the cots conquer", a scandal out. As chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Karl Lehmann condemned the attitude behind this statement as "inconsiderate and cynical" towards families.
Scholz was (first from media Jan. horse in the period of 13 March 2003) dubbed "Scholzomat" which on its automated and mechanically acting choice of words in press conferences was coined. In 2013, Scholz said that he found the choice of words “very appropriate” and never complained about it to editorial offices.
Olaf Scholz is part of the politically more conservative wing of the SPD.
In July 2001, as Hamburg Senator for the Interior, Scholz introduced the forced administration of emetics to preserve evidence from suspected drug dealers . The senators of the then coalition partner Green Alternative List (GAL) supported this measure; part of the GAL rejected it and said that it was a serious interference with the sphere of personality and physical integrity. In October 2001 and April 2004, the Hamburg Medical Association opposed the compulsory administration of emetics, as the resistance of the person concerned could pose a significant health risk, but it basically affirmed the use of emetics. Even after the death of Achidi John in December 2001, Scholz stuck to the correctness of his decision. The later Hamburg Justice Senator Roger Kusch said in 2002 that the introduction of emetics two months before the state elections in September 2001 was a turnaround of 180 degrees; this had "a smell of dubious". As party leader of the SPD Hamburg, Scholz finally anchored the use of emetics as "social democratic domestic policy" in the immediate program for the early May 2004 elections under the top candidate Thomas Mirow . In July 2006, the European Court of Human Rights condemned the German use of emetics as a violation of human rights.
Scholz's role in the planning and preparation of the G-20 summit is viewed controversially . He uttered the sentences “Don't worry: We can guarantee security” and “We also hold the port birthday every year. There will be people who will be surprised on July 9th that the summit is already over. ”However, there were riots and looting. In view of these events, Scholz saw no reason to resign: "If G20 dead had occurred, I would have resigned". In the discussion about possible criminal offenses by police officers in the context of the G20 summit - 115 preliminary investigations were opened in this regard, 92 of them for bodily harm in office - Scholz said: “There was no police violence, this is a denunciation that I firmly reject . ”The Hamburger Morgenpost gave Scholz a“ 5+ ”rating, among other things because of his statements on G-20 in their“ annual report card ”.
During the chancellorship of Gerhard Schröder (1998 to 2005) he campaigned for his reform policy and was counted among the "Schröderians". Scholz described the agenda plans in March 2003 as "social democratic policy" and as "sensible, balanced and therefore also permissible". He was also considered a pragmatist and, for example, as Minister of Labor in the grand coalition from 2005–2009, played a key role in pushing through the retirement age at 67 . In 2007, Scholz wanted to adhere to more stringent reasonableness rules for the unemployed and rejected calls by the SPD party left for a general increase in the Hartz IV standard rates. At that time, Scholz declared that he wanted to defend the core of the Agenda reforms against criticism from unions and from within his own party base. After he joined the SPD in 2006 for the introduction of a nationwide statutory minimum wage of around 6.50 euros and his party thus failed due to the resistance of the CDU, from 2007 he stood up as Minister of Labor for a minimum wage through the inclusion of industries in the Posted Workers Act a. Before the 2009 Bundestag elections , he called the programmatic differences between the SPD and Die Linke “greater than to all other parties”. During the exploratory talks in Jamaica in 2017 , Scholz called for the statutory minimum wage to be raised to 12 euros.
On March 28, 2012, at the instigation of Scholz, the Hamburg citizenship approved with the votes of the parties SPD and Die Linke 420 million euros for another share purchase in the shipping company Hapag-Lloyd , which increased the city's shares from 23.6 percent to 36.9 Percent were increased. Michael Behrendt explained in 2018 that those involved had assumed in 2012 that around 20,000 jobs were attached to the then ailing company. This made the city of Hamburg the largest single shareholder in Hapag-Lloyd AG via HGV with 39.6 percent . This investment was initially loss-making due to the ongoing shipowner crisis and was therefore criticized. In the course of 2019, however, the price of Hapag-Lloyd AG rose again significantly and the value of Hamburg's share, which has now been reduced to 20.6 percent, was now around 1.3 billion euros, so that the city (as of October 2019) made a book profit recorded.
In January 2019, a possible merger of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank was publicly discussed. Scholz had proposed this again, but was largely rejected by experts and commentators. The resulting corporate structure would be “ too big to fail ”. In the same year, experts criticized his plans for a financial transaction tax because, in their opinion, this would primarily affect small shareholders. In December 2019, he pushed the introduction of this tax at EU level. According to the draft, share purchases should be taxed when it comes to shares in companies that are worth at least one billion euros. Hermann-Josef Tenhagen criticized this version of the transaction tax because the underlying idea of taxing the wealthy more heavily would in fact be turned into the opposite. A report by the Institute for World Economy commissioned by the federal government confirms the same deficiencies in the tax concept that Tenhagen had already pointed out.
In September 2019, Scholz negotiated the climate package in a key role for the SPD . He said: “What we have presented is a great achievement”, whereas climate scientists almost unanimously criticized the result as insufficient. According to DIW economist Claudia Kemfert , the climate package is, for example, "socially unjust from a distribution policy point of view and it does not meet the climate targets."
Since 2016, the Hamburg tax office could have reclaimed 47 million euros from the Hamburg-based private bank MMWarburg & CO , which the bank received through illegal dividend stripping (Cum-Ex), the largest tax scandal in German history, but allowed this million-dollar claim to become statute-barred. The then Hamburg mayor Scholz and other Hamburg SPD politicians are criticized for having practiced nepotism with the private bank during the “cum-ex tax robbery” . A banker used contacts with the SPD.
During the investigation into serious tax evasion, NDR and Die Zeit 2020 reported that Scholz had met three times with the co-owner of Warburg Bank, Christian Olearius , on the matter during his time as the first mayor of Hamburg . Scholz had kept two of these meetings from the public. Since Olearius refused to refund the tax, Scholz referred him after these talks for preferential treatment to the Senator for Finance of the City of Hamburg, to whom Olearius was supposed to hand over his argumentation paper on CumEx without comment. The paper went to the Hamburg tax administration, and shortly afterwards MM Warburg received the notification that the city of Hamburg waived the repayment of the 47 million euros to which it was entitled. Scholz subsequently claimed that he could no longer remember the content of the conversation in this regard.
In April 2020 and the beginning of 2021, the bank settled tax debts of a total of 155 million euros, including the 47 million euros obtained through Cum-Ex. She first presented this as threatening her existence, then as statute-barred or waived.
Scholz is criticized in the scandal surrounding the payment service provider Wirecard , as the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) has committed serious misconduct . This carried out insufficient supervision of Wirecard, although there were indications of a lack of funds. As Federal Minister of Finance, Scholz is responsible for overseeing BaFin. Wirecard is now insolvent and the EU securities and market supervisory authority ESMA is investigating the German supervisory authority due to serious violations of EU law. ESMA published its final report on the investigation into the Wirecard scandal in November 2020. She found that the Federal Ministry of Finance, headed by Scholz, was able to influence the BaFin supervisory authority. Against this background, Scholz was criticized across parties, as there were repeatedly lobbying activities of the group in the area and directly at Scholz. The Green politician Lisa Paus pointed out, for example, that BaFin's weaknesses had been known since 2017, but that Scholz had not yet taken any measures to remedy them. On January 29, 2021, Scholz announced that he wanted to fill the presidential post.
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|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||German politician (SPD), Member of the Bundestag|
|DATE OF BIRTH||June 14, 1958|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Osnabrück|