|Chairwoman of Parliamentary Group of Alliance '90/The Greens
with Fritz Kuhn (2005-2009)
with Jürgen Trittin (2009-2013)
|Preceded by||Katrin Göring-Eckardt|
|Succeeded by||Katrin Göring-Eckardt|
|Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection|
12 January 2001 – 4 October 2005
|Preceded by||Karl-Heinz Funke|
|Succeeded by||Jürgen Trittin (acting)
|Member of the Berlin House of Deputies|
15 December 1955 |
|Political party||Alliance '90/The Greens|
|Alma mater||Fachhochschule Düsseldorf|
Renate Künast (born 15 December 1955) is a German politician of Alliance '90/The Greens. She was the Minister of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture from 2001 to 2005 and subsequently served as chairwoman of the her party's parliamentary group in the Bundestag.
Künast was born in Recklinghausen, North Rhine-Westphalia. She studied social work in Düsseldorf and worked from 1977 to 1979 in this profession in a jailhouse in Berlin. After that she studied law at the Free University of Berlin until 1985 and worked as lawyer specializing on aliens law and criminal law.
Since 1979, Künast has been a member of the German Green Party (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), first in the Alternative List in West Berlin. In the 1990s she was member of parliament and chairwoman of the greens in the parliament of Berlin.
From June 2000 to March 2001 she was co-chair of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen on the national level, together with Fritz Kuhn. Since her party at the time did not allow the combination of functions in the party and the government in one person, she resigned when she became Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection in the second government of Gerhard Schröder in 2001. By naming someone with no experience in farming to head a ministry with such sweeping powers, Schröder was widely considered gambling that any loss of support among farmers would be more than compensated by support from ecologically conscious Germans alarmed by the discovery of mad cow disease. Künast held the office until 2005, over time becoming known for increasing consumer protection, supporting organic farming, and expanding animal welfare.
Künast is also a member of the Humanist Union, a civil rights organization. She is on the board of trustees of the Berlin-based AIDS-Hilfe (AIDS-Help) group, and is an honorary member of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation and the Angelo Roncalli Committee within that organization.
Künast announced on 5 November 2010 that she we would be the candidate for Governing Mayor of Berlin for Alliance '90/The Greens in the Berlin state election, 2011. Under her leadership, the Green Party came third with 17.6 percent of the vote, up from the 13.1 percent they won in the previous election. However, incumbent Klaus Wowereit from the Social Democrats chose to enter a coalition with the conservative CDU, leaving Künast without any role in Berlin state politics.
After the 2013 federal elections, the resignation of Künast and Jürgen Trittin as co-leaders of the Green Party's group in parliament cleared the way for the election of Katrin Göring-Eckardt and Anton Hofreiter. In 2014, Künast was instead elected chairwoman of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Consumer Protection. Already since 2005, she also been serving on the Committee on the Election of Judges (Wahlausschuss), which is in charge of appointing judges to the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany.
In August 2012, Künast was one of 124 members of the Bundestag to sign a letter that was sent to the Russian ambassador to Germany, Vladimir Grinin, expressing concern over the trial against the three members of Pussy Riot. “Being held in detention for months and the threat of lengthy punishment are draconian and disproportionate,” the lawmakers said in the letter. “In a secular and pluralist state, peaceful artistic acts -- even if they can be seen as provocative -- must not lead to the accusation of serious criminal acts that lead to lengthy prison terms.”
In July 2009 she was accused of antisemitism by the Jerusalem Post, after she had allegedly been overheard calling the pro-Israel "Stop the Bomb" organisation a "Mossad front", which she denied.
- Die Dickmacher. Warum die Deutschen immer fetter werden und was wir dagegen tun müssen. Riemann Verlag, 2004, ISBN 3-570-50062-4.
- Klasse statt Masse. Die Erde schätzen, den Verbraucher schützen. Econ Ullstein List Verlag, München 2002.
- Der Mordfall Schmücker und der Verfassungs„schutz“. Dokumentation seit dem 29. September 1986, vorgelegt von Renate Künast (MdA), Februar 1987. Alternative Liste für Demokratie und Umweltschutz, Fraktion des Abgeordnetenhauses von Berlin, 1987.
- Roger Cohen (January 11, 2001), Two Named to New German Agency in Shuffle Over Beef Disease New York Times.
- Beirat der Humanistischen Union
- Kuratorium der BAH, Berliner AIDS-Hilfe.
- Honorary Members, International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.
- Honorary Members, Angelo Roncalli Committee, International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.
- "German Green leader to run for Berlin mayor". The Irish Times. 6 November 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
- State Election in German Capital: Klaus Wowereit Wins Third Term as Berlin Mayor Spiegel Online, September 18, 2011.
- Quentin Peel (September 24, 2013), Centre-left opposition to coalition with Merkel deepens Financial Times.
- Henry Meyer (August 8, 2012), Madonna Urges Freedom for Anti-Putin Punk Girls at Concert Bloomberg News.
- Appell aus dem Bundestag: Deutsche Abgeordnete fordern Milde für Pussy Riot Spiegel Online, August 7, 2012.
- Quentin Peel (September 17, 2013), Prospects fade for Green - SPD coalition in Germany Financial Times.
- Benjamin Weinthal (2008-11-09). "German Kristallnacht events marred by reported rise in anti-Semitism". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
- Benjamin Weinthal (2009-07-12). "German pro-Israel group labeled 'Mossad front'". Retrieved 2009-09-28.
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