Wolfgang Clement

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Wolfgang Clement as Federal Minister for Economics and Labor (2004)
Autograph Wolfgang Clements

Wolfgang Clement (born July 7, 1940 in Bochum ; † September 27, 2020 in Bonn ) was a German politician ( SPD ) and a member of the supervisory board . Clement was the seventh Prime Minister of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia from 1998 to 2002 and Federal Minister for Economics and Labor from 2002 to 2005 . He was chairman of the board of trustees of the New Social Market Economy Initiative .

Early years and education

Wolfgang Clement was born in 1940 as the son of a master builder in Bochum. After graduating from the Graf-Engelbert-Schule in Bochum, Clement initially completed a traineeship at the Westfälische Rundschau in Dortmund. He then began studying law at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster, which he completed in 1965 with the first state examination in law. He then worked as a trainee lawyer and as an assistant, initially at the Institute for Litigation Law at the University of Marburg , and later with Ingo von Münch at the Ruhr University in Bochum . From 1968 Clement worked again at the Westfälische Rundschau , first as a political editor , then as head of the political department and finally as deputy editor-in-chief . From 1986 to 1989 Clement was editor-in-chief of the Hamburger Morgenpost .


Party career

Clement (standing, left) in the federal election campaign (1986)

From 1970 to 2008 Clement was a member of the SPD. From 1981 to 1986 he was spokesman for the federal executive committee and from 1985 to 1986 at the same time deputy federal manager of the SPD. From 1994 to 2001 he was a member of the state executive committee of the SPD North Rhine-Westphalia , from 1996 as deputy chairman. From 1997 to November 2005 he was a member of the SPD federal executive committee , since December 1999 as deputy federal chairman.

Member of Parliament

Clement was a member of the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia from October 1, 1993 to November 7, 2002 .

Public offices

State Minister

In 1989 he was appointed State Secretary and Head of the State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia to the state government led by Prime Minister Johannes Rau . After the state elections in 1990, he held this office from June 13, 1990 in the rank of Minister for Special Tasks . After the state elections in 1995 he was appointed Minister for Economy and Small Business, Technology and Transport on July 17, 1995 .

Prime Minister

After he had been the Crown Prince of Johannes Rau for a long time , he was finally elected on May 27, 1998 as his successor in the office of Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia.

With Russian President Vladimir Putin (2001)

In his government declaration of June 17, 1998, Wolfgang Clement announced the amalgamation of the justice and interior ministries into one department. This decision met with considerable constitutional concerns from the other political parties and also from the German Association of Judges and the Federal Bar Association, as it was seen as a violation of the separation of powers . On February 9, 1999, the North Rhine-Westphalian constitutional court ruled that the merger violated the rights of the state parliament. Clement still wanted to hold on to the merger, at least until the state elections in 2000, but then had to bow to the growing pressure that was now also coming from coalition partner Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen . The merger of the departments was reversed and Clement himself took over the business of the Minister of Justice from March 10 to 22, 1999, after Reinhard Rauball , who was surprisingly appointed Minister of Justice and a well-known sports lawyer, returned after just one week for improper behavior as a notary had to resign. Jochen Dieckmann was Minister of Justice of North Rhine-Westphalia from March 23, 1999 until the end of Clement's term of office (October 2002) .

In the state elections in 2000 , the SPD under Clement's leadership achieved 42.8 percent of the votes cast (−3.2  percentage points ) and was able to form a coalition government with the Greens again. Even after this election, there were fierce internal government debates between him and, above all, Environment Minister Bärbel Höhn (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen), who opposed the continuation of hard coal subsidies and the promotion of large-scale industrial projects ( e.g. Garzweiler II ), represented by Clement .

During his tenure as Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia four parliamentary committees of inquiry (PUA) were carried out:

  • Examination of the national companies  - Gesellschaft für Wirtschaftsförderung, Projekt Ruhr GmbH, Bildungszentrum für die Entsorgungs- und Wasserwirtschaft GmbH (BEW) as well as Christian Langer's business relationships with the State Chancellery.
  • High Definition Oberhausen (HDO)  - on the state's funding practice in the field of broadcasting, film and media with regard to deficits and deficiencies, in particular all processes and grievances in relation to the Technology Center Oberhausen (HDO)
  • High Definition Oberhausen (HDO)  - Processes and grievances with regard to HDO in continuation of PUA II
  • Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale (WestLB)  - Air travel by members of the state government or the state parliament with the help and at the expense of WestLB

Federal Minister

After the federal election in 2002 , Clement resigned his post as Prime Minister on October 21, 2002 and was then appointed Minister of Economics and Labor in the federal government led by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder on October 22, 2002 . He thus took over the “ super ministry ” created by merging the Ministry of Economics and Labor .

Because of the required neutrality of the office ( oath of office ), Clement gave up his ambassadorial activity at the initiative New Social Market Economy .

Clement's policy was subsequently exposed to two areas of conflict in particular. On the one hand, there were numerous conflicts with Federal Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen), for example on the issue of can deposits , the withdrawal from nuclear energy and the trade in emissions certificates decided on at the World Climate Conference in Kyoto . On the other hand, in contrast to many other members of the government, Clement did not want to counter the increasing acceptance problems that the Schröder government was facing because of the reforms decided in the context of Agenda 2010 , not by slowing down, but by steadfastly continuing the reforms. He is therefore also one of the “Schröderians”.

Clement sparked discussion in August 2004 when he criticized the term Monday demonstration as an abuse of history in the context of the growing organized protests against the amalgamation of unemployment benefits and social welfare . Clement also urged young people looking for work or training to call him personally if they could not handle the application forms; a request that has been widely perceived as cynical.

In 2003, under Clement, the SPD / Greens passed a narrow majority of the trade amendment with the aim of significantly reducing the number of trades in which a master craftsman is required. At the same time, the compulsory vocational training for professions not requiring a master's degree was cut.

In August 2005 the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labor published the brochure “Priority for the decent - Against abuse, rip-offs and self-service in the welfare state” . Clement wrote the preface for this pamphlet from his house. The brochure suggests, among other things, that the majority of ALG II recipients do not legally obtain state support. However, no research or statistics are included in the brochure. It is based on individual statements in which the terms parasites , free riders , rip-offs and parasites were used. The above-mentioned thesis of the brochure and its terms "parasites" and "parasites" were spread nationwide in the tabloids.

In the summer of 2005, Clement triggered a wave of indignation when he claimed an abuse rate of ten, later even twenty percent for unemployment benefit II on the talk show Sabine Christiansen and then indirectly compared Hartz IV recipients with parasites. A scientific expertise by the Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband then empirically demonstrated the actual abuse in 2 to 3 percent of all benefit communities based on data from the Federal Statistical Office .

After Angela Merkel was elected Chancellor, he left office on November 22, 2005.

Party regulation procedure and exit from the SPD

Party order procedure

On December 20, 2007, two years after the end of his work as Federal Minister, Clement threatened his party with resignation. In an interview with the online edition of the Süddeutsche Zeitung , he complained that the SPD was moving closer to the Left Party and accused the SPD of shifting to the left. He also spoke out against a statutory minimum wage, among other things . Leading politicians of the SPD reacted with harsh criticism, whereas Rainer Brüderle ( FDP ) offered Clement an entry into the FDP.

A week before the state elections in Hesse in 2008 , Clement warned readers of the SPD election in a guest post for Welt am Sonntag . The reason he named the energy policy plans of the top candidate Andrea Ypsilanti . This had previously stated in an interview that she did not want either nuclear power plants or new large coal-fired power plants in Hessen . This primarily concerns the shutdown of the Biblis A and B nuclear power plants - operated by RWE - supported by the SPD . Clement's behavior was sharply criticized by the SPD and the Greens and viewed as lobbying for RWE. Since February 2006, Clement has been a member of the supervisory board of the group subsidiary RWE Power AG . The Juso federal chairwoman Franziska Drohsel and the chairman of the SPD parliamentary group, Peter Struck , joined the call to quit the party, which was expressed by the SPD member of the Bundestag and environmental politician Hermann Scheer . Otherwise, you threatened a party order process .

Following the events of January 2008, the responsible SPD in Bochum received applications from 13 local associations and sub-districts for a party regulation procedure. A good half of them called for Wolfgang Clement to be excluded . On February 22, 2008, the responsible arbitration commission of the SPD Bochum initiated a party regulation procedure against Wolfgang Clement, which ended with a reprimand for Clement. After seven participating SPD local associations and subdistricts had spoken out against this decision as insufficient and Clement had also appealed against the decision, the case was brought to the next instance before the state arbitration commission of the NRW-SPD.

On July 31, 2008, the SPD announced that the State Arbitration Commission of North Rhine-Westphalia had spoken out in favor of excluding Clements from the party. Since Clement had called on the Federal Arbitration Commission of the SPD as the last instance, the party exclusion did not take effect. Clement was represented by Otto Schily . The highest party arbitration tribunal, which met on November 24, 2008, issued a reprimand but did not exclude him from the party.

Resignation from the SPD

Wolfgang Clement then resigned from the SPD on November 25, 2008. As further reasons for his resignation, he cited a lack of demarcation between the SPD and the Left Party and the SPD's economic policy, which amounts to de-industrializing Germany. However, he will continue to take part in debates on the left and economic policy as a “social democrat without a party membership”.

After leaving, Clement told Cicero magazine that he saw Germany as the potential and the basis for an independent social-liberal force that he would "naturally" support. A few days before the 2009 federal elections, he announced in the Bonner General-Anzeiger that he would support the FDP chairman Guido Westerwelle, who was a direct candidate in his place of residence, with his first vote. A few weeks earlier, Clement had already described the FDP as Germany's only progressive party. Shortly before the NRW state elections in 2010, Clement appeared at the invitation of the FDP member of the Bundestag Daniel Bahr as a speaker at the “Forum Liberal”. Before the NRW state elections in 2012 , he appeared with the FDP top candidate Christian Lindner . Clement also supported the FDP in the election campaign for the 2013 federal election , as well as before the 2017 federal election .

Career in business

Since leaving politics, Clement has worked in business, mainly in the energy industry . In February 2006 he was elected to succeed Wilhelm Nölling as a member of the 21-person supervisory board of RWE's power plant subsidiary, RWE Power AG (Essen). Since Clement was the minister responsible for energy policy in the red-green coalition, his move to the supervisory body met with intense criticism from environmentalists. In this context, representatives of Greenpeace declared: "Here nepotism is practiced at the expense of climate protection."

In January 2006 Clement became a member of the supervisory board of Landau Media AG and in December 2005 a member of the supervisory board of the Dussmann Foundation . Since March 2006 he has chaired the newly established advisory board of the knowledge and information service provider Wolters Kluwer Deutschland GmbH (Cologne). In May 2006 he joined the Convention for Germany . Since June 2006 he sat on the supervisory board of the fourth largest German newspaper publisher DuMont Schauberg .

In addition, he sat on the supervisory board (personnel committee) of the fifth-largest German temporary employment agency DIS Deutscher Industrie Service from 2006 to 2016. The majority (83 percent) of DIS was acquired by Swiss competitor Adecco , and Clement took over the chairmanship of the new Adecco Institute for Research into Work , which is fully financed by the Adecco group and is part of the company. The public is to be influenced by means of primary and secondary research as well as conferences and discussion forums.

The Citigroup Global Markets Germany of Citibank and the consulting firm Deekeling Arndt Advisors (DAA) also secured Clement's cooperation. Since May 2008, Clement has been on the supervisory board of 1 & 1 Versatel . He was also a member of the supervisory board of Media Broadcast GmbH . In September 2008 he became chairman of the EU-Russia forum. Since August 2008 he has been deputy chairman of the supervisory board of the drilling technology company Daldrup & Söhne AG, and later he became chairman of the supervisory board. Since April 2009 he has been a member of the supervisory board of the Russian consulting firm Energy Consulting.

In February 2009 he was appointed to the supervisory board of the new investment company Berger Lahnstein Middelhoff & Partners LLP . In August 2010, Clement was one of 40 prominent signatories of the Energy Policy Appeal . In January 2011 he was appointed chairman of the advisory board of purchasing consultancy Kloepfel Consulting. From July 2011 to June 2017 he sat on the supervisory board of Deutsche Wohnen , a listed housing company that was founded by Deutsche Bank in 1998 . Until 2002 he was the curator of the Initiative New Social Market Economy (INSM). In 2009 Clement was active as a testimonial for the INSM. In July 2012 Clement took over the chairmanship of the board of trustees of the INSM. According to the Waipu.tv website , Clement was a member of the board of directors.

Other political positions

In 2012, Clement supported the FDP in the election campaign in North Rhine-Westphalia. As a member of the supervisory board of RWE Power AG in Essen, he campaigned for the construction of new power plants at the FDP party congress .

In August 2012, Clement pleaded for the abolition of the lifetime working time limit. He can imagine that people will work up to the age of 75 or 80 because demographic change demands this.


In addition to the four aforementioned committees of inquiry against him during his tenure as Prime Minister in North Rhine-Westphalia, there were other points of criticism: The move of the State Chancellery from the previous properties to the Düsseldorf city gate was rated as superfluous and overpriced. The affair became particularly explosive when it became known that a Clement confidante had led the move and had received orders worth millions.

It was also criticized that the approval of the controversial open-cast lignite mine Garzweiler II fell during Clement's term of office and that Clement then took up a position on the supervisory board of the open-cast mine operator RWE Power AG.

Wolfgang Clement already joined the legal requirements for in his tenure as Federal Minister for far-reaching changes of temporary workers for the benefit of temporary employment one. His work on the supervisory board of the temporary employment agency DIS AG , a subsidiary of Adecco , was therefore criticized.


Wolfgang Clement was married, the father of five daughters and lived in the Plittersdorf district ( Bad Godesberg ) in Bonn . The former heavy smoker Clement died of lung cancer on September 27, 2020 at the age of 80 .




  • (Ed.): In principle social - the big parties and the workers. Fackelträger-Verl., Hannover 1976, ISBN 3-7716-1388-4 .
  • Focus and renewal. Government declaration before the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia on June 17, 1998. Press and Information Office of the state government, Düsseldorf 1998.
  • In plain language: So that Germany gets going again. Verlag der St. Johannis-Druckerei, Lahr / Schwarzwald 2009, ISBN 978-3-501-05189-4 .
  • (Co-author): What to do now: Germany 2.0. Herder, Freiburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-451-30252-7 .
  • Subsidiarity and solidarity: the award of the Heinrich Pesch Prize 2017 to Wolfgang Clement , Altius Verlag, 2017, ISBN 978-3-932-48363-9

Web links

Commons : Wolfgang Clement  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: Wolfgang Clement  - in the news

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wolfgang Clement at the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia
  2. ^ Ministry of the Interior of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia : Concentration and Renewal ( Memento from September 20, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) (Government declaration by Prime Minister Wolfgang Clement, held on June 17, 1998 in front of the State Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia, p. 4)
  3. Press service of the Federal Bar Association : The Federal Bar Association and the German Association of Judges reject the amalgamation of the Ministry of the Interior and Justice in North Rhine-Westphalia ( Memento of October 23, 2004 in the Internet Archive ), June 25, 1998
  4. ^ WDR : Failed Fusion ( Memento of April 4, 2005 in the Internet Archive ), February 14, 1999
  5. ^ WDR: No super minister in Düsseldorf - 5 years ago: Constitutional court stops merging ministries in North Rhine-Westphalia , February 9, 2004
  6. Documentation of the parliamentary investigative committees of the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia 1995-2005 ( Memento from January 15, 2005 in the Internet Archive )
  7. "People are rightly angry". Hartz IV forms. In: "Spiegel online". July 20, 2004, accessed on May 17, 2011 : “The application forms for the new unemployment benefit II continue to cause heated arguments. While Economics Minister Wolfgang Clement defends the questionnaire and offers tutoring by telephone, the top data protection officer of the federal government considers some of the questions to be inadmissible. Social associations expect that many applicants will be completely overwhelmed. [...] ' If you can't cope, call me! 'says Clement. "
  8. ^ Clement praises application forms. In: "taz.de". July 21, 2004, accessed on May 17, 2011 : “BERLIN ap. Federal Minister of Economics Wolfgang Clement has sharply rejected criticism of the application forms for the new unemployment benefit II. ' The forms are excellent, ' said Clement yesterday. [...] ' If you can't cope, call me! 'In this context, Clement unfortunately forgot to give the telephone number of his workplace. "
  9. Hans-Georg Hötger, Chairman of the Mülheim Citizens Initiative (MBI): July 22nd, 2004. Hartz IV threatens millions and Clement is still mocking people? In: "Omega News". July 22, 2004, accessed on May 17, 2011 : “Labor and Social Affairs Minister Wolfgang Clement [...] thinks the snooping forms for Hartz IV are excellent and even dares to mock the [...] unsettled people by claiming: ' The Criticism shows that many of those affected apparently did not take care of the necessary information in good time 'and in his arrogance he offers them to call him if they cannot cope with the' excellent and little bureaucratic '16-page questionnaire. Even specialists such as tax consultants doubt whether they can fill out the forms correctly. "
  10. Handwerksnovelle 2004
  11. Priority for the decent - against abuse, "rip-offs" and self-service in the welfare state. A report from the labor market in summer 2005 (PDF; 188 kB), Federal Ministry of Economics and Labor, August 2005
  12. http://www.forschung.paritaet.org/fileadmin/SUBDOMAINS/forschung/tutzing_2007/Expertise_Missusen-1.pdf  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.forschung.paritaet.org  
  13. ^ Süddeutsche Zeitung : Wolfgang Clement threatens to leave the party - "My border is near Lafontaine-Rot" , December 19, 2007
  14. ^ Süddeutsche Zeitung: Reactions to the threat of resignation - "Clement's policy cost the SPD many voters" ( Memento of December 22, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), December 21, 2007
  15. Die Welt : Clement warns of the election of Andrea Ypsilanti , January 19, 2008
  16. ^ Spiegel Online : Attack against Ypsilanti: Clement stabs Hesse-SPD in the back , January 19, 2008
  17. ^ Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger : Clement intervenes in the Hessen election campaign , January 19, 2008
  18. Spiegel Online:Attack against Ypsilanti: Struck demands Clement's expulsion from the SPD, January 20, 2008
  19. ^ Website of the SPD Hamme: [1] , January 21, 2008
  20. ^ Website of the SPD Hamme: Application for exclusion against Wolfgang Clement , February 23, 2008
  21. Süddeutsche Zeitung: Clement and his party - How do you feel about the SPD, comrade? , April 23, 2008
  22. ^ Spiegel Online: Campaign attacks by the ex-minister: SPD starts party proceedings against Clement , February 22, 2008
  23. ^ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung : SPD: Comrades reprimand Clement , April 23, 2008
  24. Tagesschau : Exclusion because of behavior that is harmful to the party: Only the Federal SPD can save Clement ( memento of March 17, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), July 31, 2008
  25. ^ Only complaint, SPD does not exclude Clement ( Memento of March 16, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), November 24, 2008
  26. ^ Spiegel Online Clement resigns from the SPD , November 25, 2008
  27. Spiegel Online: "I am very sorry to have to take the step". Full text of Clement's statement , November 25, 2008.
  28. Tagesspiegel: Social Democrat without a party book
  29. ^ Welt Online: Wolfgang Clement speculates about a new social liberal party December 18, 2008
  30. Stern Online: Clement advertises Westerwelle September 25, 2009
  31. Clement appears at the FDP event. ( Memento from April 15, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) wdr, April 14, 2010.
  32. ^ Spiegel Online: Clement and the FDP: Der Wandervogel May 1, 2012
  33. Willi Bock: Clement in Hadern: The election campaign is colorful In: Abendzeitung May 7, 2013
  34. ^ Advertisement by the FDP in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of September 22, 2017, p. 21.
  35. Manager Magazin : RWE Power: Wolfgang Clement becomes supervisory board member , February 13, 2006
  36. cf. z. B. Clement takes over board position at RWE, February 13, 2006
  37. Change in the DIS AG Supervisory Board , pressebox.de, June 15, 2016
  38. ^ A b Adecco: Clement becomes first labor researcher , manager-magazin.de , October 5, 2006
  39. Article by Wolfgang Lieb : http://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=2906
  40. Archive link ( Memento from December 29, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  41. ^ Zoff about threatened VHF blackout: Now ex-economics minister Wolfgang Clement hooks up ›Meedia. Retrieved April 22, 2018 .
  42. ^ Der Spiegel : SPD: Clement becomes head of the EU-Russia Forum , April 14, 2009
  43. Company presentation Daldrup & Söhne AG, January 2009 (PDF; 3.3 MB)
  44. Ex-Prime Minister Clement symbolically starts the test drilling in Nordick - wa.de on May 19, 2016 , accessed on May 20, 2016
  45. ^ Süddeutsche Zeitung: Clement becomes a consultant in Russia ( Memento of April 17, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), April 14, 2009
  46. https://www.lokalkompass.de/hagen/c-politik/clement-rente-mit-80-schroeder-rente-mit-70_a200735
  47. Deutsche Wohnen: Annual Report 2017. Retrieved on August 4, 2019 .
  48. http://www.tagesspiegel.de/wirtschaft/nachrichten-nachrichten/6844934.html
  49. http://www.insm.de/insm/Presse/Pressemmeldung/Wolfgang-Clement-neuer-Kuratoriumsvorsitzender-der-INSM.html
  50. Imprint , waipu.tv
  51. Jörg Diehl: Clement and the FDP: Der Wandervogel. In: Spiegel Online . May 1, 2012, accessed February 12, 2015 .
  52. ^ Afp: Clement wants to support FDP man Lindner. In: handelsblatt.com . April 19, 2012, accessed February 12, 2015 .
  53. Rp Online: Support for the FDP: Clement criticizes the red-green coalition. In: rp-online.de. May 2, 2012, accessed February 12, 2015 .
  54. Demographic change: Clement pleads for work into old age. In: Spiegel Online . August 15, 2012, accessed February 12, 2015 .
  55. ^ Allegations of moving the State Chancellery to the "Stadttor": Clement rejects allegations of nepotism , Rheinische Post , January 26, 2004
  56. BUND : Garzweiler II - A profile
  57. Thomas Dauser, Beate Klein: Exploitation with temporary work - How employees are blackmailed , Report Mainz , June 25, 2007
  58. Death at the age of 80: Ex-Economics Minister and NRW Prime Minister Wolfgang Clement is dead. In: Welt.de. September 27, 2020, accessed September 27, 2020 .
  59. List of award winners - website of the Düsseldorf Chamber of Crafts ( Memento of April 17, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on January 27, 2011
  60. List of donkey order carriers 1990–1999 , accessed on February 13, 2011
  61. European Craft Prize. North Rhine-Westphalian Crafts Day V., accessed on March 10, 2015 .
  62. ^ Richard Weber: Ambassador of Beer 2003: Federal Minister Wolfgang Clement - the laudation. In: Web site of the German Brewers Association. April 23, 2003, archived from the original on April 30, 2007 ; Retrieved August 12, 2008 .
  63. Honorary doctorates of the faculties of the Ruhr University ( Memento from February 26, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) In: ruhr-uni-bochum.de
  64. Lisa Inhoffen, Bettina Köhl: SPD boycotts honor for Wolfgang Clement - GA-Bonn. In: general-anzeiger-bonn.de. February 12, 2015, accessed September 11, 2017 .
  65. Note on the homepage of the Jülich Society , accessed on January 13, 2017
  66. Subsidiarity and Solidarity - The 2017 Heinrich Pesch Prize awarded to Wolfgang Clement