Renate Künast

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Renate Künast
Renate Künast 20090915-DSCF1946.jpg
Renate Künast
Chairwoman of Parliamentary Group of Alliance '90/The Greens
with Fritz Kuhn (2005-2009)
with Jürgen Trittin (2009-2013)
In office
President Horst Köhler
Christian Wulff
Joachim Gauck
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Preceded by Katrin Göring-Eckardt
Succeeded by Katrin Göring-Eckardt
Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection
In office
12 January 2001 – 4 October 2005
Preceded by Karl-Heinz Funke
Succeeded by Jürgen Trittin (acting)
Horst Seehofer
Member of the Berlin House of Deputies
In office
Personal details
Born (1955-12-15) 15 December 1955 (age 59)
Recklinghausen, Germany
Nationality German
Political party Alliance '90/The Greens
Residence Berlin, Germany
Alma mater Fachhochschule Düsseldorf
Occupation attorney

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.

Personal life[edit]

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.

Political career[edit]

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.[1] 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.[2] She is on the board of trustees of the Berlin-based AIDS-Hilfe (AIDS-Help) group,[3] and is an honorary member of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation[4] and the Angelo Roncalli Committee within that organization.[5]

After the 2005 federal election, Künast became co-chair of the Green Party's parliamentary group, again together with Fritz Kuhn and later with Jürgen Trittin.

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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.

Political positions[edit]

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.”[9][10]

Over the course of her career, Künast has regularly dismissed prospects for an alternative coalition between the Greens and Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union on a national level.[11]


In 2010, Künast – along with Cécile Duflot, Monica Frassoni, and Marina Silva – was named by Foreign Policy magazine to its list of top global thinkers,[12] for taking Green mainstream.


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.[13][14]


  • 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.


External links[edit]