Niels Annen

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Niels Annen
Annen, Niels-1812.jpg
Personal details
Born (1973-04-06) April 6, 1973 (age 42)
Elmsbüttel, Hamburg, West Germany
(now Germany)
Citizenship German
Nationality  Germany
Political party SPD
Alma mater
Occupation Politician

Niels Annen (born 6 April 1973) is a German politician and member of the SPD.


Annen had been criticised as "a perpetual student in the Bundestag", after dropping out of a History degree course which he had been studying for 14 years.[1] After 2009 he obtained a bachelor's degree in history from the Humboldt University of Berlin, with a thesis on the resettlement of Baltic Germans during World War 2[2] and a master's degree in International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University in the United States in 2011.[1]

Besides his native German, Annen speaks English and Spanish fluently.[3]

Political career[edit]

Annen served as national chairman of the SPD's youth wing[4] from 2001 to 2004.[5] Annen was elected to the Bundestag, the German federal parliament, at the 2005 election, representing Hamburg Eimsbüttel.[5] In parliament, he served on the Committee on Foreign Affairs.[5]

As a member of Committee on Foreign Affairs, Annen established himself as a leftwing SPD foreign policy expert,[6] focusing largely on the German engagement in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Within the committee he has served on the Subcommittee for Arms Control and Non Proliferation as well as the Subcommittee for the United Nations.[7]

Within the SPD parliamentary group, he was – together with Christine Lambrecht and Andreas Steppuhn – co-chairman of the Parliamentary Left. Between 2005 and 2009, he also served as Deputy Chairman of the German-Spanish Parliamentary Friendship Group.

Annen was deselected for the 2009 election, losing a selection convention by 45 votes to 44 to Danial Ilkhanipour,[5] who lost the seat at the 2009 election to the CDU candidate Rüdiger Kruse. In March 2010, Annen joined the German Marshall Fund as a Senior Fellow in Washington, D.C., for a six-month term.[8] Between 2011 and 2013, he served as director of European policy analysis at the Berlin headquarters of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which is affiliated with the Social Democratic Party.[9]

Annen returned to the Bundestag at the 2013 election, regaining the Hamburg Eimsbüttel district from the CDU. He represents his parliamentary group in a crossparty committee headed by former defense minister Volker Rühe to review the country’s parliamentary rules on military deployments.[10]

Political positions[edit]

On Afghanistan and Pakistan[edit]

Annen is an advocate of continued German commitment in Afghanistan.[11] Amid discussions in the Social Democratic Party on whether to terminate Germany's mandate for German elite commando troops within the US-run Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) against Taliban fighters, Annen in 2007 said many SPD members were questioning Germany's continued role in the anti-terror battle in Afghanistan. He stated that "[m]any say [the SPD] is losing its way as a party oriented to finding peaceful solutions to international problems".[12] Along with Green MP Jürgen Trittin, Annen claimed that the American counterinsurgency mission was hindering civilian reconstruction under the umbrella of the second mission, the International Security Assistance Force, because of what they called a heavy-handed approach by the U.S. military on the ground that was alienating the local population.[13] In 2014, he voted in favor of continuing German participation in ISAF.

In April 2014, Annen accompanied Norbert Lammert as well as fellow members of the German Parliament Marieluise Beck and Hans-Peter Uhl on a visit to Pakistan, where they met with President Mamnoon Hussain, Chairman of the Senate Nayyar Hussain Bukhari and Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan.[14]

On military engagement on the African continent[edit]

Annen has in the past voted in favor of German participation in United Nations peacekeeping missions as well as in United Nations-mandated European Union peacekeeping missions on the African continent, such as in SomaliaOperation Atalanta (2014) and EUTM Somalia (2015) –, Darfur/Sudan (2013 and 2014), South Sudan (2013 and 2014), the Central African Republic (2014) and Mali – both MINUSMA (2014) and EUTM Mali (2015).

On nuclear weapons[edit]

In 2008, Annen called on the United States to remove all nuclear weapons stored in military bases in Germany after a U.S. Air Force report found that safety standards at most sites for nuclear weapons in Europe fall well short of Pentagon requirements.[15]

Other activities[edit]


External links[edit]