Gerda Hasselfeldt

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Gerda Hasselfeldt
Gerda Hasselfeldt in 2013
Federal Minister of Health
In office
1991–1992
Chancellor Helmut Kohl
Preceded by Ursula Lehr
Succeeded by Horst Seehofer
Federal Minister for Regional Planning, Building and Urban Development
In office
1989–1990
Chancellor Helmut Kohl
Preceded by Oscar Schneider
Succeeded by Irmgard Schwaetzer
Personal details
Born (1950-07-07) 7 July 1950 (age 64)
Straubing, Bavaria, Germany
Political party Christian Democratic Union
Spouse(s) Wolfgang Zeitlmann
Children 2
Alma mater University of Regensburg
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Religion Roman Catholicism

Gerda Hasselfeldt (born in Straubing on 7 July 1950)[1] is a Bavarian politician (CSU). She currently serves as deputy chairperson of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group and chairwoman of the Bundestag group of CSU parliamentarians.

Gerda Hasselfeldt in the German Bundestag, 2014

Political career[edit]

Gerda Hasselfeldt alongside Volker Kauder, Michael Grosse-Brömer and Max Straubinger at the Bundestag, 2014

An economist by training,[2] Hasselfeldt became a Member of the German Bundestag in 1987 and was appointed Federal Minister for Regional Planning, Building and Urban Development by then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl in a cabinet reshuffle[3] two years later.[4]

From 1991, Hasselfeldt served as Federal Minister for Health. She announced her resignation on April 27, 1992, saying the arrest of her close aide Reinhard Hoppe for allegedly spying for Poland had damaged her health.[5][6] She was succeeded by Horst Seehofer.[7]

Hasselfeldt was financial policy spokeswoman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group for seven years. In 2002 she became the first deputy chairwoman of the parliamentary group.[8] During the 2005 election campaign, she took charge of agriculture, consumer protection and the environment in Angela Merkel’s nine-member shadow cabinet.[9]

After the federal elections in 2005 and 2009, Hasselfeldt was elected Vice-President of the German Bundestag. She held this office until she was elected to the head of the Bundestag group of CSU parliamentarians in 2013.[10] She has since led the group with her co-chair from the CDU, Volker Kauder.

In that capacity, Hasselfeldt is also a member of the parliament’s Council of Elders, which – among other duties – determines daily legislative agenda items and assigning committee chairpersons based on party representation. Hasselfeldt also serves on the Committee on the Election of Judges, which is in charge of appointing judges to the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany.

Political views[edit]

Social policy[edit]

When members of the Merkel’s Christian Democrats in 2012 called on parliament to grant gay couples the same tax benefits as married heterosexuals, Hasselfeldt and successfully railed against the idea.” Marriage between a man and a woman must be especially protected because it is fundamentally oriented towards the propagation of life —which isn't the case in homosexual relationships," said Hasselfeldt.[11][12]

In a 2012 letter to Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos, Hasselfeldt asked the online retailer to suspend sales of a children's puzzle bearing the image of the crematorium at the Dachau concentration camp, calling the product 'a slap in the face' for Holocaust victims. Just 12 miles from the Bavarian capital Munich, Dachau lies within Hasselfeldt's constituency.[13]

In 2014, Hasselfeldt publicly rejected complaints against her party over its slogan "those who commit fraud will be [kicked] out" - a claim that migrant workers could exploit social welfare.[14]

European policies[edit]

A proponent of strict austerity policies during the Eurozone crisis, Hasselfeldt helped organize a majority of German lawmakers to approve a series of measures to assist Greece recover from its government debt crisis.[15] In 2011, she demanded that Italy must do more to convince financial markets of its creditworthiness after a rating downgrade by Standard & Poor's.[16] In 2013, she said Germany was watching France "with a degree of concern" and criticized French President François Hollande for not implementing spending cuts and structural reforms with "sufficient vigor."[17]

In the context of Turkey's largely failed attempted to ban microblogging service Twitter in 2014, Hasselfeldt reaffirmed that "[her] position has always been that Turkey should not be allowed into the EU, and that we are pursuing the principle of privileged partnership."[18]

NSA surveillance and Edward Snowden[edit]

In 2014, Hasselfeldt blocked an opposition bid to bring Edward Snowden to Germany to testify, saying that inviting Snowden to Germany would harm relations with the U.S. and probably force the German government to extradite him to face U.S. espionage charges for unveiling National Security Agency data on surveillance.[19]

Other activities[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The International Who's Who of Women 2002 by Elizabeth Sleeman, pg 237
  2. ^ William Tuohy (April 14, 1989), Kohl Shuffles Cabinet to Aid Image Before Election Los Angeles Times.
  3. ^ William Tuohy (April 14, 1989), Kohl Shuffles Cabinet to Aid Image Before Election Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ Gerda Hasselfeldt CDU/CSU.
  5. ^ German Health Minister Resigns; Alleged Spy In Ministry Uncovered Associated Press, April 27, 1992.
  6. ^ Tamara Jones (April 29, 1992), German Reversal Leaves Official Out in the Cold Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ Markets and medicine: the politics of health care reform in Britain, Germany ... by Susan Giaimo, pgs 111-112
  8. ^ Gerda Hasselfeldt CDU/CSU.
  9. ^ Judy Dempsey (August 18, 2005), Merkel puts small team forward International Herald Tribune.
  10. ^ Gerda Hasselfeldt CDU/CSU.
  11. ^ Madeline Chambers (August 8, 2012), Merkel's CDU breaks taboo with call for gay couple tax equality Reuters.
  12. ^ Mary M. Lane (August 10, 2012), German Coalition Split on Gay Rights Wall Street Journal.
  13. ^ Kristen Allen (October 1, 2012), 'A Slap in the Face for Victims': Amazon Criticized for Selling Dachau Puzzle Spiegel Online.
  14. ^ Caritas charity slams CSU anti-migrant slogan Deutsche Welle, January 7, 2014.
  15. ^ Patrick Donahue (November 27, 2012), German Lawmakers Set to Approve Greek Aid Plan This Week Businessweek.
  16. ^ Brian Parkin (September 20, 2011), Italy ‘Needs to Exert Itself,’ German CSU’s Hasselfeldt Says Bloomberg.
  17. ^ Andrew Trotman (April 23, 2013), Angela Merkel: 'Austerity makes it sound evil, I call it balancing the budget' Daily Telegraph.
  18. ^ Kay-Alexander Scholz (April 2, 2014), Stop Turkey's EU accession, say German parties Deutsche Welle.
  19. ^ Patrick Donahue and Arne Delfs (May 9, 2014), Merkel Ally Says Snowden Would Face U.S. Extradition by Germany Bloomberg.