Norbert Röttgen

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Norbert Röttgen
Norbert roettgen 2012.jpg
Norbert Röttgen in 2012
Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
In office
28 October 2009 – 16 May 2012
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Preceded by Sigmar Gabriel
Succeeded by Peter Altmaier
Chairman of CDU North Rhine-Westphalia
In office
6 November 2010 – 13 May 2012
Deputy Ursula Heinen-Esser
Armin Laschet
Karl-Josef Laumann
Michaela Noll
Sven Volmering
General Secretary Oliver Wittke
Preceded by Jürgen Rüttgers
Succeeded by TBD
First Chief Whip of parliamentary group of CDU/CSU
In office
25 January 2005 – 26 October 2009
Head Volker Kauder
Succeeded by Peter Altmaier
Personal details
Born (1965-07-02) 2 July 1965 (age 49)
Meckenheim, West Germany
Nationality German
Political party Christian Democratic Union
Spouse(s) Ebba Herfs-Röttgen
Children 3
Alma mater University of Bonn
Religion Roman Catholic

Norbert Röttgen (born 2 July 1965) is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union. He was Federal Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety from 2009 to 2012.

Early life and education[edit]

Röttgen graduated from the Gymnasium of Rheinbach. After completing his Abitur, he started to study law at the University of Bonn in 1984. He passed his first law examination in 1989, his second examination in 1993 and practised as a lawyer in Cologne.[1] He obtained a legal doctorate from the University of Bonn in 2001.

Political career[edit]

Röttgen joined the CDU in 1982 while he was still a highschool student. From 1992 until 1996, he served as the chair of the Junge Union, the youth organisation of CDU in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. He was elected to the Bundestag in 1994. From 2002 until 2005 he served as the legal policy spokesman of the parliamentary group of CDU/CSU.[1]

During the First Cabinet of the Grand Coalition of Angela Merkel in 2005, he served as the Chief Parliamentary Secretary of the CDU/CSU Parliamentary group in the Bundestag until 2009.[1]

Federal Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety[edit]

From 28 October 2009, Röttgen was the Federal Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in the Second Cabinet of Angela Merkel.[2] He also served as a member of the Board of Supervisory Directors at KfW from October 28, 2009 to May 22, 2012. From November 2010, he was the deputy chair of the CDU in Germany, as well as the chair of the CDU in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.[1] At the time, he was often mentioned as a potential successor to Merkel as chancellor.[3]

In May 2011, in his capacity as environment minister, Röttgen announced his government’s plans to shut all of the nation’s nuclear power plants until 2022. The decision was based on recommendations of an expert commission appointed after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.[4]

Following the dissolution of the state's Landtag on 14 March 2012, Röttgen confirmed his intention to run in the subsequent election as the CDU's candidate for the office of Minister-President against the incumbent, Hannelore Kraft of the SPD.[5] Röttgen ran against the debt-financed spending supported by Kraft, and even described the vote as a referendum on Merkel’s Europe policies.[6]

Following the election defeat of the CDU in North Rhine-Westphalia, Röttgen resigned his position as head of the CDU in North Rhine-Westphalia. On 16 May 2012, Chancellor Merkel fired him under Article 64 of the German Basic Law as Minister for Environment; Peter Altmaier replaced him.[7][8]

Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs[edit]

Since 2014, Röttgen has been the chairman of the Bundestag's Committee on Foreign Affairs. He also serves on the advisory boards of the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and the Fachhochschule des Mittelstands in Bielefeld.

Political views[edit]

Foreign policy[edit]

Röttgen is considered as an advocate of a more assertive German foreign policy. In an editorial for the The Financial Times in March 2014, he argued that the only people who seemed not to realize that Germany was at the center of the Crimean crisis were “the Germans themselves.”[9]

Röttgen supported the European Union leaders' decision to impose sanctions on 21 individuals after the referendum in Crimea that paved the way for Putin to annex the region from Ukraine.[10] By August 2014, he demanded that Europe respond to the escalation of violence in Ukraine by agreeing to further sanctions against Russia, saying that "[a]ny hesitation would be seen by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin as European weakness that would encourage him to keep going."[11]

Climate change and the environment[edit]

Following the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Röttgen sharply criticized both U.S. President Barack Obama and China’s leadership when he said: “China doesn’t want to lead, and the U.S. cannot lead.”[12] Both Angela Merkel and Röttgen, the chief architects of the government’s energy transition plan, are thought to have pushed for a rapid nuclear phase-out with a view to raising the prospects for a possible future national coalition with the Green Party.[13]



External links[edit]