|Chairman of the SPD-Parlamentary Group|
27 October 2009
|Preceded by||Peter Struck|
|Vice Chancellor of Germany|
21 November 2007 – 27 October 2009
|Preceded by||Franz Müntefering|
|Succeeded by||Guido Westerwelle|
|Minister for Foreign Affairs|
22 November 2005 – 27 October 2009
|Preceded by||Joschka Fischer|
|Succeeded by||Guido Westerwelle|
|Chief of the Chancellery|
31 July 1999 – 22 November 2005
|Preceded by||Bodo Hombach|
|Succeeded by||Thomas de Maizière|
5 January 1956 |
Detmold, West Germany
|Political party||Social Democratic Party|
|Alma mater||University of Giessen|
Frank-Walter Steinmeier [ˈfʁaŋkˌvaltɐ ˈʃtaɪ̯nˌmaɪ̯.ɐ] (born 5 January 1956) is a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), and currently the leader of the opposition in the Bundestag. Steinmeier was a close aide of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, serving as Chief of Staff in the German Chancellery from 1999 to 2005. He subsequently served as Foreign Minister (2005–2009) and Vice Chancellor (2007–2009) in the grand coalition government of Angela Merkel. In 2008, he briefly served as acting chairman of his party.
Steinmeier was born in Detmold. Following his Abitur, he served his military service from 1974 until 1976. He then studied law and political science at the Justus-Liebig-Universität of Gießen. In 1982 he passed his first and 1986 his second state examination in law. He worked as scientific assistant to the professor of public law and political science at the Gießen university, until he obtained his doctorate of law in 1991.
Steinmeier is married and has one daughter.
On 24 August 2010, due to an illness of his wife, he successfully donated a kidney to her.
Steinmeier became an adviser in 1991 for law of communication media and media guidelines in the state Chancellery of Lower Saxony in Hanover. In 1993, he became director of the personal office for the then Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, Gerhard Schröder. In 1996, he became the Undersecretary of State and Director of the State Chancellery of Lower Saxony.
Steinmeier was appointed in November 1998 as undersecretary of state at the office of the chancellor following Schröder's election victory. He replaced Bodo Hombach as the head of the office of the chancellor in 1999. During this period Steinmeier was also one of the advisors to Schröder. Because of his effective management beyond the spotlight of politics, he was nicknamed Die Graue Effizienz (The Grey Efficiency) - a pun on Graue Eminenz, the German for éminence grise.
Following Franz Müntefering's departure from the cabinet on 21 November 2007, Steinmeier also filled the position of Vice-Chancellor. In 2007, Steienmeier said he opposes European Commission proposals on unbundling the ownership of energy networks in the European Union.
Russian opposition activists celebrated when Steinmeier lost elections in 2009, signaling their discontent with Steinmeier. Oleg Orlov, head of the Memorial human rights group, said that Steinmeier had prolonged Schröder's policies on Russia and that Germany's policies were "extremely bad for civil society, democracy and the country as a whole".
In 2008, Steinmeier refused to meet Dalai Lama. Instead, Steinmeier issued the statement "it takes a lot of courage not to meet with the Dalai Lama these days", which the New York Times described as "extraordinarily cynical" and accused of Steinmeier of prioritizing money over human rights.
Steinmeier served as acting chairman of the SPD from 7 September 2008 to 18 October 2008.
On 7 September 2008, following the resignation of SPD chairman Kurt Beck, Steinmeier was chosen as the SPD candidate for chancellor for the 2009 federal elections and also designated as acting SPD Chairman, pending the return of Müntefering to that position.
After the SPD's decisive defeat in the elections, Steinmeier, who had been elected to represent Brandenburg an der Havel – Potsdam-Mittelmark I – Havelland III – Teltow-Fläming I, was elected as chairman of the SPD's parliamentary group in the Bundestag, and as such leader of the opposition. After a hospitalization for donating a kidney to his wife in August 2010, Steinmeier returned to his office in October 2010.
After the elections of 2013 and the new grand coalition government, Steinmeier is likely to become foreign minister a second time.
- Bernstein, Richard (23 November 2005). "Merkel Takes Office in Germany and Announces Coalition Cabinet". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
- Andreas Cremer and Brian Parkin, "Muentefering, Vice-Chancellor Under Merkel, Quits", Bloomberg, 13 November 2007.
- German minister opposes EU utility unbundling idea Reuters 20 January 2007
- German Vote Raises Hopes in Russia. Moscow Times. 29 September 2009.
- Steinmeier's bad example New York Times 20 May 2008
- German Minister Criticized for Planned Meeting with Dalai Lama. Spiegel Online International. 17 May 2008
- Dalai Lama `Disappointed' Germany's Steinmeier Won't Meet Him Bloomberg 9 May 2008
- "German SPD party reshuffles leadership, with eye on election", Xinhua, 7 September 2008.
- "Merkel's rival concedes defeat in German election". The Telegraph. 27 September 2009.
- "Steinmeier wird Oppositionsführer". Die Zeit. 27 September 2009.(German)
Media related to Frank-Walter Steinmeier at Wikimedia Commons
|Chief of the Chancellery
Thomas de Maizière
|Minister of Special Affairs
|Minister of Foreign Affairs
|Vice Chancellor of Germany
|Party political offices|
|Chairman of the SPD Parlamentary Group