Schröder in 2014
|Chancellor of Germany|
27 October 1998 –22 November 2005
|President|| Roman Herzog |
|Vice Chancellor||Joschka Fischer|
|Preceded by||Helmut Kohl|
|Succeeded by||Angela Merkel|
|Leader of the Social Democratic Party|
12 March 1999 –21 March 2004
|General Secretary|| Franz Müntefering |
|Preceded by||Oskar Lafontaine|
|Succeeded by||Franz Müntefering|
|President of the Bundesrat|
1 November 1997 –27 October 1998
|Preceded by||Erwin Teufel|
|Succeeded by||Hans Eichel|
|Minister President of Lower Saxony|
21 June 1990 –27 October 1998
|Preceded by||Ernst Albrecht|
|Succeeded by||Gerhard Glogowski|
|Member of the Bundestag |
for Lower Saxony
26 October 1998 –24 November 2005
29 March 1983 –1 July 1986
|Member of the Bundestag |
for Hannover-Land I
4 November 1980 –29 March 1983
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
|Succeeded by||Dietmar Kansy|
Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder
7 April 1944
Blomberg, Free State of Lippe, Germany
|Political party||Social Democratic Party|
(m. 1968;div. 1972)
(m. 1972;div. 1984)
(m. 1984;div. 1997)
(m. 1997;div. 2018)
So-Yeon Kim(m. 2018)
|Alma mater||University of Göttingen|
Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder (German: [ˈɡɛɐ̯haɐ̯t fʁɪts kʊɐ̯t ˈʃʁøːdɐ] (
Politics refers to a set of activities associated with the governance of a country, or an area. It involves making decisions that apply to members of a group.
The title Chancellor has designated different offices in the history of Germany. It is currently used for the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, the head of government of Germany.
The Agenda 2010 is a series of reforms planned and executed by the German government, a Social-Democrats/Greens coalition at that time, which aimed to reform the German welfare system and labour relations. The declared objective of Agenda 2010 was to promote economic growth and thus reduce unemployment.
Before becoming a full-time politician, he was a lawyer, and before becoming Chancellor he served as Prime Minister of Lower Saxony (1990–1998). Following the 2005 federal election, which his party lost, after three weeks of negotiations he stood down as Chancellor in favour of Angela Merkel of the rival Christian Democratic Union. He is currently the chairman of the board of Nord Stream AG and of Rosneft, after having been hired as a global manager by investment bank Rothschild, and also the chairman of the board of football club Hannover 96.
Angela Dorothea Merkel is a German politician serving as Chancellor of Germany since 2005. She served as the leader of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from 2000 to 2018. Merkel has been widely described as the de facto leader of the European Union, the most powerful woman in the world, and by many commentators as the leader of the Free World.
Nord Stream AG is a consortium for construction and operation of the Nord Stream submarine pipeline between Vyborg in Russia and Greifswald in Germany, a project initially promoted by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and President Vladimir Putin. The consortium was incorporated in Zug, Switzerland, on 30 November 2005. The original name of company was the North European Gas Pipeline Company. The company was renamed to Nord Stream AG on 4 October 2006.
PJSC Rosneft Oil Company is a Russian integrated energy company headquartered in the Russian capital of Moscow. It is specializing on exploration, extraction, production, refinement, transport, and sale of petroleum, natural gas, and petroleum products. The company is controlled by the Russian government through the Rosneftegaz holding company. Its name is a portmanteau of the Russian words Rossiyskaya neft'.
Schröder was born in Mossenberg, Lippe, German Reich. His father, Fritz Schröder, a lance corporal in the Wehrmacht, was killed in action in World War II in Romania on 4 October 1944, almost six months after Gerhard's birth. His mother, Erika (née Vosseler), worked as an agricultural laborer so that she could support herself and her two sons.
The Free State of Lippe was a German state formed after the Principality of Lippe was abolished following the German Revolution of 1918.
The Wehrmacht was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer (army), the Kriegsmarine (navy) and the Luftwaffe. The designation "Wehrmacht" replaced the previously used term Reichswehr, and was the manifestation of the Nazi regime's efforts to rearm Germany to a greater extent than the Treaty of Versailles permitted.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
Schröder completed an apprenticeship in retail sales in a Lemgo hardware shop from 1958 to 1961 and subsequently worked in a Lage retail shop and after that as an unskilled construction worker and a sales clerk in Göttingen while studying at night school for a general qualification for university entrance (Abitur). He did not have to do military service because his father had died in the war. [ citation needed ]In 1966, Schröder secured entrance to a university, passing the Abitur exam at Westfalen-Kolleg, Bielefeld. From 1966–71 he studied law at the University of Göttingen. From 1972 onwards, Schröder served as teaching assistant at the university. In 1976, he passed his second law examination, and he subsequently worked as a lawyer until 1990.
An apprenticeship is a system of training a new generation of practitioners of a trade or profession with on-the-job training and often some accompanying study. Apprenticeships can also enable practitioners to gain a license to practice in a regulated profession. Most of their training is done while working for an employer who helps the apprentices learn their trade or profession, in exchange for their continued labor for an agreed period after they have achieved measurable competencies. Apprenticeship lengths vary significantly across sectors, professions, roles and cultures. People who successfully complete an apprenticeship in some cases can reach the "journeyman" or professional certification level of competence. In others can be offered a permanent job at the company that provided the placement. Although the formal boundaries and terminology of the apprentice/journeyman/master system often do not extend outside guilds and trade unions, the concept of on-the-job training leading to competence over a period of years is found in any field of skilled labor.
Lemgo is a small university town in the Lippe district of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, 25km east of Bielefeld and 70 km west of Hannover. The old hanseatic town Lemgo has a population of c. 41,000 (2017) and belongs to the OWL region, which is one of the most important cluster regions for mechanical engineering and industrial electronics in Germany. In 2017 the German Internet portal reisereporter.de placed Lemgo among the most beautiful ten half-timbered towns in Germany. Lemgo is situated between the Teutoburg Forest and the Weser Uplands.
Lage is a city in the Lippe district of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, approximatively 8 km northwest of the administrative center Detmold. It has 35,099 inhabitants (2016). The coat of arms of Lage depicts a farmer's plough. The city is not far from the Teutoburg Forest. Due to its convenient location Lage developed into a traffic hub in the former Principality of Lippe, today's district of Lippe.
Among his more controversial cases, Schröder helped Horst Mahler, a founding member of the Baader-Meinhof terrorist group, to secure both an early release from prison and permission to practice law again in Germany.
Horst Mahler is a German former lawyer and political activist. He once was an extreme-left militant and a founding member of the Red Army Faction but later became a Maoist before switching to neo-Nazism. Between 2000 and 2003, he was a member of the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany. Since 2003, he has repeatedly been convicted of Volksverhetzung and Holocaust denial and served much of a twelve-year prison sentence.
The Red Army Faction, also known as the Baader–Meinhof Group or Baader–Meinhof Gang, was a West German far-left militant organization founded in 1970. Key early figures included Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Horst Mahler and Ulrike Meinhof, among others. Ulrike Meinhof was involved in Baader's escape from jail in 1970. The West German government as well as most Western media and literature considered the Red Army Faction to be a terrorist organization.
Schröder joined the Social Democratic Party in 1963. In 1978 he became the federal chairman of the Young Socialists, the youth organisation of the SPD. He spoke for the dissident Rudolf Bahro, as did President Jimmy Carter, Herbert Marcuse, and Wolf Biermann.
Working Group of Young Socialists in the SPD is a voluntary youth organisation of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD).
Rudolf Bahro was a dissident from East Germany who, since his death, has been recognised as a philosopher, political figure and author. Bahro was a leader of the West German party The Greens, but became disenchanted with its political organization, left the party and explored spiritual approaches to sustainability.
James Earl Carter Jr. is an American politician and philanthropist who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A Democrat, he previously served as a Georgia state senator from 1963 to 1967 and as the 76th governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975. After his presidency, Carter has remained active in the private sector; in 2002, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in co-founding the Carter Center.
In 1980, Schröder was elected to the German Bundestag (federal parliament), where he wore a sweater instead of the traditional suit. Under the leadership of successive chairmen Herbert Wehner (1980–83) and Hans-Jochen Vogel (1983–86), he served in the SPD parliamentary group. He also became chairman of the SPD Hanover district.
In a frequently-cited and undenied newspaper story, a drunken Schröder is reported to have stood in 1982 outside the forbidding modernist chancellery building in Bonn, clutching the black iron railings and yelling: "I want to get in."That same year, he wrote an article on the idea of a red/green coalition for a book at Olle & Wolter, Berlin; this appeared later in "Die Zeit". Chancellor Willy Brandt, the SPD and SI chairman, who reviewed Olle & Wolter at that time, had just asked for more books on the subject.
In 1985, Schröder met the GDR leader Erich Honecker during a visit to East Berlin. In 1986, Schröder was elected to the parliament of Lower Saxony and became leader of the SPD group.
After the SPD won the state elections in June 1990, Schröder became Minister-President of Lower Saxony as head of an SPD-Greens coalition; in this position, he also won the 1994 and 1998 state elections.[ citation needed ] He was subsequently also appointed to the supervisory board of Volkswagen, the largest company in Lower Saxony and of which the state of Lower Saxony is a major stockholder.
Following his election as Minister-President in 1990, Schröder also became a member of the board of the federal SPD. In 1997 and 1998, he served as President of the Bundesrat.
During Schröder’s time in office, first in coalition with the environmentalist Green Party, then with a clear majority, Lower Saxony became one of the most deficit-ridden of Germany's 16 federal states and unemployment rose higher than the national average of 12 percent.Ahead of the 1994 elections, SPD chairman Rudolf Scharping included Schröder in his shadow cabinet for the party’s campaign to unseat incumbent Helmut Kohl as Chancellor. During the campaign, Schröder served as shadow minister of economic affairs, energy and transport.
In 1996, Schröder caused controversy by taking a free ride on the Volkswagen corporate jet to attend the Vienna Opera Ball, along with Volkswagen CEO Ferdinand Piëch. The following year, he nationalized a big steel mill in Lower Saxony to preserve jobs.
In the 1998 state elections, Schöder’s Social Democrats increased their share of the vote by about four percentage points over the 44.3 percent they recorded in the previous elections in 1994 – a postwar record for the party in Lower Saxony that reversed a string of Social Democrat reversals in state elections elsewhere.
First term, 1998–2002
Following the 1998 national elections, Schröder became Chancellor as head of an SPD-Green coalition. Throughout his campaign for Chancellor, he portrayed himself as a pragmatic new Social Democrat who would promote economic growth while strengthening Germany's generous social welfare system.
After the resignation of Oskar Lafontaine as SPD Chairman in March 1999, in protest at Schröder's adoption of a number of what Lafontaine considered "neo-liberal" policies, Schröder took over his rival's office as well. In a move meant to signal a deepening alliance between Schröder and Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom,the two leaders issued an eighteen-page manifesto for economic reform in June 1999. Titled Europe: The Third Way, or Die Neue Mitte in German, it called on Europe's centre-left governments to cut taxes, pursue labour and welfare reforms and encourage entrepreneurship. The joint paper said European governments needed to adopt a "supply-side agenda" to respond to globalisation, the demands of capital markets and technological change.
Schröder’s efforts backfired within his own party though, where the traditional left-wing rejected the Schröder-Blair call for cutbacks to the welfare state and pro-business policies. Instead, the paper took part of the blame for a succession of six German state election losses in 1999 for the Social Democratic Party. Only by 2000, Schröder managed to capitalise on the donations scandal of his Christian Democratic opposition to push through a landmark tax reform bill and re-establish his dominance of the German political scene.
In May 2001, Schröder moved to his new official residence, the Chancellery building in Berlin, almost two years after the city became the seat of the German Government. He had previously been working out of the building in eastern Berlin used by the former leaders of East Germany.
Second term, 2002–2005
Throughout the build-up to the 2002 German election, the Social Democrats and the Green Party trailed the centre-right candidate Edmund Stoiber until the catastrophe caused by rising floodwater in Germany gave him a chance to monopolise the media and save his poll ratings.Lastly, his popular opposition to a war in Iraq dominated campaigning in the run-up to the polls. At 22 September vote, he secured another four-year term, with a narrow nine-seat majority (down from 21).
In February 2004, Schröder resigned as chairman of the SPD amid growing criticism from across his own party of his reform agenda;Franz Müntefering succeeded him as chairman. On 22 May 2005, after the SPD lost to the Christian Democrats (CDU) in North Rhine-Westphalia, Gerhard Schröder announced he would call federal elections "as soon as possible". A motion of confidence was subsequently defeated in the Bundestag on 1 July 2005 by 151 to 296 (with 148 abstaining), after Schröder urged members not to vote for his government in order to trigger new elections. In response, a grouping of left-wing SPD dissidents and the neo-communist Party of Democratic Socialism agreed to run on a joint ticket in the general election, with Schröder’s rival Oskar Lafontaine leading the new group.
The 2005 German federal elections were held on 18 September. After the elections, neither Schröder's SPD-Green coalition nor the alliance between CDU/CSU and the FDP led by Angela Merkel achieved a majority in parliament, but the CDU/CSU had a stronger popular electoral lead by one percentage point. Since the SPD had been trailing the CDU by more than 15 points only weeks before the election, this outcome was a surprise and was mainly attributed to Schröder's charisma and prowess as a campaigner;[ citation needed ] polls consistently showed that he was much more popular with the German people than Merkel.[ citation needed ] On election night, both Schröder and Merkel claimed victory and chancellorship, but after initially ruling out a grand coalition with Merkel, Schröder and Müntefering entered negotiations with her and the CSU's Edmund Stoiber. On 10 October, it was announced that the parties had agreed to form a grand coalition. Schröder agreed to cede the chancellorship to Merkel, but the SPD would hold the majority of government posts and retain considerable control of government policy. Merkel was elected chancellor on 22 November.
On 11 October 2005, Schröder announced that he would not take a post in the new Cabinet and, in November, he confirmed that he would leave politics as soon as Merkel took office. On 23 November 2005, he resigned his Bundestag seat.
On 14 November 2005, at a SPD conference in Karlsruhe, Schröder urged members of the SPD to support the proposed coalition, saying it "carries unmistakably, perhaps primarily, the imprint of the Social Democrats". Many SPD members had previously indicated that they supported the coalition, which would have continued the policies of Schröder's government, but had objected to Angela Merkel replacing him as Chancellor. The conference voted overwhelmingly to approve the deal.
In his first term, Schröder's government decided to phase out nuclear power, fund renewable energies, institute civil unions for same-sex partners, and liberalise the naturalization law.
During Schröder’s time in office, economic growth slowed to only 0.2% in 2002 and Gross Domestic Product shrank in 2003, while German unemployment was over the 10% mark.Most voters soon associated Schröder with the Agenda 2010 reform program, which included cuts in the social welfare system (national health insurance, unemployment payments, pensions), lower taxes, and reformed regulations on employment and payment. He also eliminated capital gains tax on the sale of corporate stocks and thereby made the country more attractive to foreign investors.
After the 2002 election, the SPD steadily lost support in opinion polls. Many increasingly perceived Schröder's Third Way program to be a dismantling of the German welfare state. Moreover, Germany's high unemployment rate remained a serious problem for the government. Schröder's tax policies were also unpopular; when the satirical radio show The Gerd Show released "Der Steuersong", featuring Schröder's voice (by impressionist Elmar Brandt) lampooning Germany's indirect taxation with the lyrics "Dog tax, tobacco tax, emissions and environmental tax, did you really think more weren't coming?", it became Germany's 2002 Christmas #1 hit and sold over a million copies. The fact that Schröder served on the Volkswagen board (a position that came with his position as minister-president of Lower Saxony) and tended to prefer pro-car policies led to him being nicknamed the "Auto-Kanzler" (car chancellor).
After taking office, Schröder made his first official trip overseas to France for meetings with President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Lionel Jospin in October 1998.A 2001 meeting held by both leaders in Blaesheim later gave the name to a regular series of informal meetings between the French President, the German Chancellor, and their foreign ministers. The meetings were held alternately in France and Germany. At the fortieth anniversary of the Elysée Treaty, both sides agreed that rather than summits being held twice a year, there would now be regular meetings of a council of French and German ministers overseen by their respective foreign affairs ministers. In an unprecedented move, Chirac formally agreed to represent Schröder in his absence at a European Council meeting in October 2003.
In his first months in office, Schröder vigorously demanded that Germany's net annual contribution of about $12,000,000,000 to the budget of the European Union be cut, saying his country was paying most for European "waste."He later moderated his views when his government held the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 1999.
In 2003, Schröder and Chirac agreed to share power in the institutions of the European Union between a President of the European Commission, elected by the European Parliament, and a full-time President of the European Council, chosen by heads of state and government; their agreement later formed the basis of discussions at the Convention on the Future of Europe and became law with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon.Ahead of the French referendum on a European Constitution, Schröder joined Chirac in urging French voters to back the new treaty, which would have enshrined new rules for the expanded EU of 25 member states and widened the areas of collective action.
Also in 2003, both Schröder and Chirac forced a suspension of sanctions both faced for breaching the European Union’s fiscal rules that underpin the euro – the Stability and Growth Pact – for three years in a row. Schröder later called for a revision of the Lisbon Strategy and thereby a retreat from Europe's goal of overtaking the United States as the world's most competitive economy by 2010. Instead, he urged the EU to reform the Pact to encourage growth, and to seek the reorientation of the €100,000,000,000 annual EU budget towards research and innovation.By 2005, he had successfully pushed for an agreement on sweeping plans to rewrite the Pact, which now allowed EU members with deficits above the original 3% of GDP limit to cite the costs of "the reunification of Europe" as a mitigating factor.
Schröder was regarded a strong ally of Prime Minister Leszek Miller of Poland [ citation needed ]and supporter of the 2004 enlargement of the European Union. On 1 August 2004, the sixtieth anniversary of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, he apologised to Poland for "the immeasurable suffering" of its people during the conflict; he was the first German Chancellor to be invited to an anniversary of the uprising. Both Schröder and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer also supported the accession of Turkey to the European Union.
Marking a clear break with the caution of German foreign policy since World War II, Schröder laid out in 1999 his vision of the country's international role, describing Germany as "a great power in Europe" that would not hesitate to pursue its national interests.
Schröder also began seeking a resolution ways to compensate Nazi-era slave labourers almost as soon as he was elected Chancellor. Reversing the hard-line stance of his predecessor, Helmut Kohl, he agreed to the government contributing alongside industry to a fund that would compensate people forced to work in German factories by the Nazi regime and appointed Otto Graf Lambsdorff to represent German industry in the negotiations with survivors' organisations, American lawyers and the U.S government.
Schröder sent forces to Kosovo and to Afghanistan as part of NATO operations. Until Schröder's chancellorship, German troops had not taken part in combat actions since World War II. With Germany having a long experience with terrorism itself, Schröder declared solidarity with the United States after the September 11 terrorist attacks. When Schröder left office, Germany had 2,000 troops in Afghanistan, the largest contingent from any nation other than the United States, UK, France, Canada and after two years Afghanistan.
Relations with the Middle East
During their time in government, both Schröder and his foreign minister Joschka Fischer were widely considered sincerely, if not uncritically, pro-Israel.Schröder represented the German government at the funeral service for King Hussein of Jordan in Amman on 9 February 1999.
When British planes joined United States forces bombing Iraq without consulting the United Nations Security Council in December 1998, Schröder endorsed the military action unequivocally.Along with French President Jacques Chirac and many other world leaders, Schröder later spoke out strongly against the 2003 invasion of Iraq and refused any military assistance in that enterprise. Schröder's stance caused political friction between the US and Germany, in particular because he used this topic for his 2002 election campaign. Schröder's stance set the stage for alleged anti-American statements by members of the SPD. The parliamentary leader of the SPD, Ludwig Stiegler, compared US President George W. Bush to Julius Caesar while Schröder's Minister of Justice, Herta Däubler-Gmelin, likened Bush's foreign policy to that of Adolf Hitler. Schröder's critics accused him of enhancing, and campaigning on, anti-American sentiments in Germany. Since his 2002 re-election, Schröder and Bush rarely met and their animosity was seen as a widening political gap between the US and Europe. Bush stated in his memoirs that Schröder initially promised to support the Iraq war but changed his mind with the upcoming German elections and public opinion strongly against the invasion, to which Schröder responded saying that Bush was "not telling the truth". When asked in March 2003 if he were at all self-critical about his position on Iraq, Schröder replied, "I very much regret there were excessive statements" from himself and former members of his government (which capitalised on the war's unpopularity).
Relations with Russia
On his first official trip to Russia in late-1998, Schröder suggested that Germany was not likely to come up with more aid for the country. He also sought to detach himself from the close personal relationship that his predecessor, Helmut Kohl, had with Russian President Boris Yeltsin, saying that German-Russian relations should "develop independently of concrete political figures."Soon after, however, he cultivated close ties with Yeltsin's successor, President Vladimir Putin, in an attempt to strengthen the "strategic partnership" between Berlin and Moscow, including the opening of a gas pipeline from Russian Dan Marino-Pipelines over the Baltic Sea exclusively between Russia and Germany (see "Gazprom controversy" below). During his time in office, he visited the country five times.
Schröder was criticised in the media, and subsequently by Angela Merkel, for calling Putin a "flawless democrat" on 22 November 2004, only days before Putin prematurely congratulated Viktor Yanukovich during the Orange Revolution.Only a few days after his chancellorship, Schröder joined the board of directors of the joint venture. Thus bringing about new speculations about his prior objectivity. In his memoirs Decisions: My Life in Politics, Schröder still defends his friend and political ally, and states that "it would be wrong to place excessive demands on Russia when it comes to the rate of domestic political reform and democratic development, or to judge it solely on the basis of the Chechnya conflict."
Relations with China
During his time in office, Schröder visited China six times.He was the first Western politician to travel to Beijing and apologise after NATO jets had mistakenly bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999. In 2004, he and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao established a secure, direct telephone line. He also pressed for the lifting of the EU arms embargo on China.
Schröder rents an apartment in Berlin while retaining his primary residence in Hanover. As a former Chancellor, he is entitled to a permanent office, also situated in Berlin. He spent time improving his English language skills.
After leaving public office, Schröder represented Germany at the funeral services for Boris Yeltsin in Moscow (jointly with Horst Köhler and Helmut Kohl, 2007) and Fidel Castro in Santiago de Cuba (2016).
Schröder and Kurt Biedenkopf served as mediators in a conflict over privatization plans at German railway operator Deutsche Bahn; the plans eventually fell through.In 2016, he was appointed by Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel to mediate (alongside economist Bert Rürup) in a dispute between two of Germany’s leading retailers, Edeka and REWE Group, over the takeover of supermarket chain Kaiser's Tengelmann.
Following the release of German activist Peter Steudtner from a Turkish prison in October 2017, German media reported that Schröder had acted as mediator in the conflict and, on the request of Gabriel, met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to secure the release.After the 2018 elections in Turkey, he represented the German government at Erdoğan's swearing-in ceremony in Ankara.
Schröder's plans after leaving office as Chancellor and resigning his Bundestag seat included resuming his law practice in Berlin, writing a book, and implementing plans for twin pipelines for Gazprom, Russia's leading energy company. He was subsequently retained by the Swiss publisher Ringier AG as a consultant.Other board memberships include the following:
In addition, Schröder has held several other paid and unpaid positions since his retirement from German politics, including:
As Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder was a strong advocate of the Nord Stream pipeline project, which aims to supply Russian gas directly to Germany, thereby bypassing transit countries.
At the time of the German parliamentary election, according to Rick Noak of The Washington Post :
In 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s friend Schroeder hastily signed the deal just as he was departing the office from which he had been voted out days earlier. Within weeks, he started to oversee the project implementation himself, leading the Nord Stream AG’s shareholder committee.
On 24 October 2005, just a few weeks before Schröder stepped down as Chancellor, the German government guaranteed to cover 1 billion euros of the Nord Stream project cost, should Gazprom default on a loan. However, this guarantee had never been used.Soon after stepping down as chancellor, Schröder accepted Gazprom's nomination for the post of the head of the shareholders' committee of Nord Stream AG, raising questions about a potential conflict of interest.
German opposition parties expressed concern over the issue, as did the governments of countries over whose territory gas is currently pumped.In an editorial entitled Gerhard Schroeder's Sellout, the American newspaper The Washington Post also expressed sharp criticism, reflecting widening international ramifications of Schröder's new post. Democrat Tom Lantos, chairman of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs, likened Schröder to a "political prostitute" for his recent behaviour. In January 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported that Schröder would join the board of the oil company TNK-BP, a joint venture between oil major BP and Russian partners.
In 2016, Schröder switched to become manager of Nord Stream 2, an expansion of the original pipeline in which Gazprom is sole shareholder.
In 2017, Russia nominated Schröder to also serve as an independent director of the board of its biggest oil producer Rosneft.At the time, Rosneft was under Western sanctions over Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis. Schröder told Blick that he would be paid about $350,000 annually for the part-time post. His decision caused an outcry in Germany and abroad, especially in a climate of fear about any potential Russian interference in the 2017 German elections. German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized her predecessor, saying "I do not think what Mr Schröder is doing is okay".
In April 2002, Schröder sued the DDP press agency for publishing an opinion of public relations consultant Sabine Schwind saying that he "would be more credible if he didn't dye his gray hair". The court decided to ban the media from suggesting that he colours his hair.The Chancellor's spokesman said: "This is not a frivolous action taken over whether he does or doesn't dye his hair, but is a serious issue regarding his word." The agency's lawyer said that they could not accept a verdict which "does not coincide with freedom of the press".
During a heated dispute between Russia and Estonia in May 2007 over the removal of a Soviet-era war memorial from the centre of the Estonian capital Tallinn to a military cemetery, Schröder defended the Kremlin's reaction. He remarked that Estonia had contradicted "every form of civilised behaviour".Consequently, the Estonian government cancelled a planned visit by Schröder in his function as chairman of Nord Stream AG, which promotes the petroleum pipeline from Russia to Germany.
Schröder has criticised some European countries' swift decision to recognise Kosovo as an independent state after it declared independence in February 2008. He believes the decision was taken under heavy pressure from the US government and has caused more problems, including the weakening of the so-called pro-EU forces in Serbia.In August 2008, Schröder laid the blame for the 2008 South Ossetia war squarely on Mikhail Saakashvili and "the West", hinting at American foreknowledge and refusing to criticize any aspect of Russian policy which had thus far come to light.
In March 2014, Schröder likened Russia's intervention in Crimea with NATO's intervention in Kosovo, citing both cases as violations of international law and the UN Charter.He further stated that there had been "unhappy developments" on the outskirts of the former Soviet Union since the end of the Cold War, leading Putin to develop justifiable "fears about being encircled". On 13 March 2014, an attempt by the German Green Party to ban Schröder from speaking in public about Ukraine was narrowly defeated in the European parliament. His decision to celebrate his 70th birthday party with Putin in Saint Petersburg's Yusupov Palace in late April elicited further criticism from several members of Merkel's grand coalition, including human rights spokesperson Christoph Strässer . In 2019, he clears all accusations on Russia in illegal annexation of Crimea, saying that it is "old Russian territory", and invasion of Russian troops was legal, because it was supported by locals.
In November 2017, an investigation conducted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism cited his name in the list of politicians named in "Paradise Papers" allegations.
Schröder has been married five times:
Doris Köpf had a daughter from a previous relationship with a television journalist. She lived with the couple. In July 2004, Schröder and Köpf adopted a child from Saint Petersburg. In 2006, they adopted another child from Saint Petersburg.
When not in Berlin, Schröder lives in Hanover. In 2013, Schröder and Kopf purchased another home in Gümüşlük, Turkey, in a real estate project developed by Nicolas Berggruen.
Schröder's fourth marriage have earned him the nickname "Audi Man", a reference to the four-ring symbol of Audi motorcars.Another nickname is "The Lord of the Rings".
Schröder married for the fifth time in 2018. His wife is the Korean economist and interpreter Kim So-yeon.
Schröder identifies himself as a member of the Evangelical Church in Germany, but does not appear to be religious. He did not add the optional phrase So wahr mir Gott helfe ("so help me God") when sworn in as chancellor for his first term in 1998.
Schröder is known to be an avid art collector. He chose his friend Jörg Immendorff to paint his official portrait for the German Chancellery. The portrait, which was completed by Immendorff's assistants, was revealed to the public in January 2007; the massive work has ironic character, showing the former Chancellor in stern heroic pose, in the colors of the German flag, painted in the style of an icon, surrounded by little monkeys.These "painter monkeys" were a recurring theme in Immendorff's work, serving as an ironic commentary on the artist's practice. On 14 June 2007, Schröder gave a eulogy at a memorial service for Immendorf at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin.
Edmund Rüdiger Stoiber is a German politician, who was the 16th Minister President of the state of Bavaria between 1993 and 2007 and chairman of the Christian Social Union (CSU) between 1999 and 2007. In 2002 he candidated for the office of Chancellor of Germany in the federal election but in one of the narrowest elections in German history lost against Gerhard Schröder. On 18 January 2007, he announced his decision to step down from the posts of minister-president and party chairman by 30 September, after having been under fire in his own party for weeks.
Jürgen Trittin is a German Green politician. He was Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety from 1998 to 2005 in Germany.
Franz Müntefering is a German politician and industrial manager. He was Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) from 2004 to 2005 and again from 18 October 2008 to 13 November 2009. He served as Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, as well as Vice-Chancellor, from 2005 to 2007.
Sigmar Hartmut Gabriel is a German politician who was Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2017 to 2018 and Vice-Chancellor of Germany from 2013 to 2018. He was Leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) from 2009 to 2017, which made him the party's longest-serving leader since Willy Brandt. He was the Federal Minister of the Environment from 2005 to 2009 and the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy from 2013 to 2017. From 1999 to 2003 Gabriel was Prime Minister of Lower Saxony.
Wolfgang Clement is a German politician. Clement was a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). He was the 7th Minister President of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia from 27 May 1998 to 22 October 2002 and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Labour from 2002 to 2005.
Oskar Lafontaine is a German politician who served in the government of Germany as Minister of Finance from 1998 to 1999. Previously he was Minister President of the state of Saarland from 1985 to 1998, and he was also Chairman of the Social Democratic Party from 1995 to 1999. After having won the German federal election, 1998 along with new Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, he resigned from all political offices, including his seat in the German Bundestag, only a half year later and positioned himself as a popular opponent of Schröder's policies in the tabloid press.
Wolfgang Schäuble is a German lawyer and politician of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party whose political career has spanned more than four decades. He is one of the most experienced and longest serving politicians in German history and since 2017 has been the President of the Bundestag.
Federal elections were held in Germany on 18 September 2005 to elect the members of the 16th Bundestag. This became necessary after a motion of confidence in Chancellor Gerhard Schröder failed on 1 July. Following the defeat of Schröder's Social Democratic Party (SPD) in a state election, Schröder asked his supporters to abstain from the Bundestag motion, knowing the motion would fail and thus triggering an early federal election.
Peer Steinbrück is a German politician who was the chancellor-candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in the 2013 federal election. Steinbrück served as the 8th Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia from 2002 to 2005, a member of the Bundestag from 2009 to 2016, and as Federal Minister of Finance in the first Cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel from 2005 to 2009.
Brigitte Zypries is a German politician of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). Between 2017 and 2018, she served as Minister for Economics and Energy in the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel; she was the first woman to hold that office in German history.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier is a German politician serving as President of Germany since 19 March 2017. He was previously Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2009 and again from 2013 to 2017, and Vice-Chancellor of Germany from 2007 to 2009. He was chairman-in-office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 2016.
Wolfgang Tiefensee is a German SPD politician. He was the Federal Minister for Transport, Building and Urban Development in the grand coalition cabinet led by Angela Merkel between 2005 and 2009. Since 2014, he has been the State Minister of Economy, Science and the Digital Society in the government of Thuringia's Minister-President Bodo Ramelow
Andrea Maria Nahles is a German politician who has served as Leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) from April 2018 until June 2019 and the leader of the SPD in the Bundestag from September 2017 until June 2019. She served as a Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs from 2013 to 2017 and SPD Youth leader. She is known within the party for criticising Gerhard Schröder's Agenda 2010. In June 2019 in the aftermath of the SPD's result in the 2019 European elections, she announced her resignation as leader of the SPD and as parliamentary leader of the SPD. For the transition period until a new SPD-leader is voted in, Manuela Schwesig, Malu Dreyer and Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel act as her successors.
Peter Aloysius Müller is a German politician belonging to the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). From 1999 to 2011, he has held the position of Premier (Ministerpräsident) of the state of Saarland, serving as President of the Bundesrat in 2008/09. In December 2011, Müller was elected as judge of German Bundesverfassungsgericht.
Olaf Scholz is a German politician serving as Federal Minister of Finance and Vice Chancellor under Chancellor Angela Merkel from the CDU since 14 March 2018. He served as First Mayor of Hamburg from 7 March 2011 to 13 March 2018 and Acting Leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) from 13 February to 22 April 2018.
Thomas Ludwig Albert Oppermann is a German politician and member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). Since October 2017 he has been Vice President of the Bundestag. He served as First Secretary (2007-2013) and later as chairman (2013-2017) of the SPD Parliamentary Group in the Bundestag.
The history of Germany since 1990 spans the period following the Reunification of Germany, when West Germany and East Germany were reunited after being divided during the Cold War. Germany after 1990 is referred to by historians as the Berlin Republic. This time period is also determined by the ongoing process of the "inner reunification" of the formerly divided country.
Barbara Anne Hendricks is a German politician and member of the SPD party.
Peter Hintze was a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and from 2013 one of the six Vice Presidents of the Bundestag. He had previously been federal chairman of the Evangelical Working Group of the CDU/CSU from 1990 to 1992 and general secretary of the CDU from 1992 to 1998. He served as a member of the Bundestag from 1990. He was also Vice President of the Centrist Democrat International.
Christoph Matschie is a German politician of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). He served as Deputy Minister-President of Thuringia between 2009 and 2014.
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| Prime Minister of Lower Saxony |
| President of the Bundesrat |
| Chancellor of Germany |
|Party political offices|
| Leader of the Social Democratic Party |
| Chairperson of the Group of 8 |