Hans von der Groeben

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Hans von der Groeben
European Commissioner for Internal Market and Regional Policy
In office
2 July 1967 – 30 June 1970
President Jean Rey
Preceded by Guido Colonna di Paliano (Internal Market)
Succeeded by Wilhelm Haferkamp (Internal Market and Energy)
European Commissioner for Competition
In office
7 January 1958 – 2 July 1967
President Walter Hallstein
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Maan Sassen
Personal details
Born (1907-05-14)14 May 1907
Langheim, Germany
(now Łankiejmy, Poland)
Died 6 March 2005(2005-03-06) (aged 97)
Rheinbach, Germany
Political party Christian Democratic Union
Alma mater University of Berlin
University of Bonn
University of Göttingen

Hans von der Groeben (14 May 1907 – 5/6 March 2005) was a German diplomat, scientist and journalist and member of the European Commission.

Von der Groeben was born in Langheim (today Łankiejmy, Poland) near Rastenburg, East Prussia.

A son of landowner Georg von der Groeben and Eva von Mirbach, he studied jurisprudence and political economics at the Universities of Berlin, Bonn and Göttingen. After the state exams he became a government advisor in 1933 at the Ministry of Nutrition (Reichsernährungsministerium) and in 1937 transferred to his final advisory position for credit and cooperatives (Referats für das Kredit- und Genossenschaftswesen).

For periods during the Second World War he served as a reserve in the armed forces, ending up as a first lieutenant. After the war he became a director of government in the Treasury of Lower Saxony. Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Ludwig Erhard recruited him from there to work on Germany's response to the Schuman Declaration for better Franco-German relations. From 1953 he represented the Federal Government in the coordinating committee of the European Coal and Steel Community.

He ranks among the fathers of the European Union, he was one of the authors of the Spaak Report, calling for the establishment of the European Economic Community. He was vice-chair of the German delegation, led by Alfred Mueller Armack at the 1956 Brussels Conference which led to the Treaty of Rome and was chair of the "Common Market" committee. He is responsible for the fact that the EEC received a contractually specified free market framework and found a kindred spirit in the French delegation leader, Robert Marjolin.

When the Treaty of Rome came into effect on 1 January 1958, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer appointed Von der Groeben as the second German member of the first European Commission, along with Walter Hallstein who became the commission president.

Responsible for competition policy, Von der Groeben set the foundations of the European anti-trust rights, introduced the value added tax system as well as the adjustment of the control systems and the European joint patents. The December 1961 adoption of the European anti-trust rights is based on his efforts to unite the French and German systems.

He remained a member of the second Hallstein Commission and the Rey Commission, serving until 1970. After leaving the commission in 1970 he became an advisor to the CDU on questions of European policy and worked actively as a scientists and journalist.

In 1967 he received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Frankfurt.

He married Gunhild von Rosenberg in 1934 and they had 3 children.

Von der Groeben died in 2005, aged 97, in Rheinbach near Bonn.

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Political offices
New office German European Commissioner
1958–1970
Served alongside: Walter Hallstein, Wilhelm Haferkamp, Fritz Hellwig
Succeeded by
Ralf Dahrendorf
Succeeded by
Wilhelm Haferkamp
European Commissioner for Competition
1958–1967
Succeeded by
Maan Sassen
Preceded by
Guido Colonna di Paliano
as European Commissioner for Internal Market
European Commissioner for Internal Market and Regional Policy
1967–1970
Succeeded by
Wilhelm Haferkamp
as European Commissioner for Internal Market and Energy
Succeeded by
Albert Borschette
as European Commissioner for Competition and Regional Policy