Armin Laschet

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Armin Laschet
2017-09-24 Armin Laschet by Sandro Halank.jpg
Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia
Assumed office
27 June 2017
Preceded by Hannelore Kraft
Leader of the Christian Democratic Union in North Rhine-Westphalia
Assumed office
20 June 2012
Preceded by Jürgen Rüttgers
Deputy Leader of the Christian Democratic Union
Assumed office
5 December 2012
Serving with Volker Bouffier, Julia Klöckner, Ursula von der Leyen and Thomas Strobl
Leader Angela Merkel
Member of the European Parliament
In office
13 June 1999 – 24 June 2005
Constituency Germany
Member of the Bundestag
In office
16 October 1994 – 27 September 1998
Personal details
Born (1961-02-19) 19 February 1961 (age 57)
Aachen, West Germany
(now in Germany)
Political party Christian Democratic Union
European People's Party (EU)
Alma mater University of Munich,
University of Bonn

Armin Laschet (born 18 February 1961) is a German politician. Since 27 June 2017 he has been the Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state of Germany. He also serves as one of five deputy chairmen of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) and as head of the party in his home state.

Early life and education[edit]

Laschet was born in Burtscheid, a suburb of Aachen near the Belgian and Dutch borders, to an observant Roman Catholic family.[1] His father was a supervisor at a black coal mine and later became an elementary school teacher and headmaster.[2] He attended the Pius-Gymnasium in Aachen and studied law at the universities of Bonn and Munich, passing the first state examination in law in 1987. He studied journalism from 1986 to 1988. In Munich he became a member of K.D.St.V. Aenania München, a Catholic student fraternity that is member of the Cartellverband.

Laschet worked as a journalist and in the publishing industry from 1986 until 1991, among other things as Bonn correspondent for Bayerischer Rundfunk. He later served as editor-in-chief of KirchenZeitung Aachen from 1991 until 1994.

Political career[edit]

Member of the German Bundestag, 1994-1998[edit]

Following the 1994 national elections, Laschet became a member of the German Bundestag. He served on the Committee for Economic Cooperation and Development and on the Committee for European Union Affairs.

Member of the European Parliament, 1999-2005[edit]

As Member of the European Parliament, Laschet served on the Committee on Budgets between 1999 and 2001 and on the Committee on Foreign Affairs between 2002 and 2005. In the latter capacity, he served as the Parliament’s rapporteur on relations between the EU and the United Nations.[3]

Role in state politics[edit]

Under Minister-President Jürgen Rüttgers in North Rhine-Westphalia, Laschet served as State Minister for Generations, Family, Women and Integration from 2005 until 2010, and as State Minister for Federal Affairs, Europe and Media from 2010. In 2010, he unsuccessfully ran against Norbert Röttgen for the post of CDU chairman in the state.[4] When Röttgen resigned from that office in 2012, Laschet was elected as his successor. On 4 December 2012 he was elected as one of five deputy chairpersons of the national CDU party,[5] serving alongside Volker Bouffier, Julia Klöckner, Thomas Strobl and Ursula von der Leyen.

Laschet currently serves as state MP in the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia and also chairs the CDU's state chapter (Landesverband). Since 2014, he has been a member of the North-Rhine Westphalia Commission for Constitutional Reform, led by Rainer Bovermann.

In the negotiations to form a Grand Coalition of the Christian Democrats (CDU together with the Bavarian CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD) following the 2013 federal elections, Laschet was part of the CDU/CSU delegation in the working group on energy policy, led by Peter Altmaier and Hannelore Kraft.

In November 2015, Laschet visited the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan to learn more about the plight of Syrians fleeing the violence in the ongoing Syrian civil war that erupted in 2011.[6] Between March 2015 and January 2016, he chaired the Robert Bosch Expert Commission to Consider a Realignment of Refugee Policy, an expert group convened by the Robert Bosch Stiftung.[7]

In November 2016, Laschet was elected leading candidate for the North Rhine-Westphalia state elections in May 2017.[8] He was a CDU delegate to the Federal Convention for the purpose of electing the President of Germany in 2017.[9]

Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia, 2017–present[edit]

Since 27 June 2017 Laschet has been the 11th Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia (Cabinet Laschet). As one of his state's representatives at the Bundesrat, he serves on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Defence Committee.

Political positions[edit]

On European integration, Laschet seeks to strengthen the European Union on issues such as fighting international terrorism and organized crime, as well as energy policy. He also wants to see the President of the European Commission be elected directly by European voters.[10]

During the European debt crisis, Laschet called for an “open discussion” toward a broad solution to the debt crisis, of which Eurobonds could be a part.[11] He argued that a Greek exit from the Eurozone could trigger undesirable upheaval in southern Europe: "(An exit) could lead to instability in a NATO member state. Russia is standing ready with billions to help Greece in such a scenario."[12] In October 2011, he signed George Soros' open letter calling for more Europe in the single currency turmoil.[13]

In 2016, Laschet dismissed proposals for a so-called burqa ban as a “phony debate” and distraction from more pressing issues. However, his party later adopted this policy as a core issue.[14]

Controversy[edit]

While still an MEP and following a 2001 visit to the Middle East, Laschet reignited a controversy over EU funding for textbooks used in Palestinian schools by comparing them to Nazi propaganda, prompting him to urge for more stringent controls over how funds earmarked for Israel and the Palestinian Authorities are spent.[15]

In 2004, the European Commissioner for Competition Mario Monti publicly rejected claims made by Laschet according to which a ban on German soccer team Alemannia Aachen’s bid to play important UEFA Cup matches in neighbouring Holland is a breach of the Union’s anti-trust rules.[16]

Other activities[edit]

Corporate boards[edit]

  • RAG-Stiftung, Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Trustees (since 2017)[17]

Non-profit organizations[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Laschet has three children, Julius, Eva and Johannes Laschet, and is married to Susanne Laschet.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Armin Laschet
  2. ^ http://www.rp-online.de/nrw/landespolitik/landtagswahl-nrw-2017-armin-laschet-der-mann-fuer-den-zweiten-blick-aid-1.6565752
  3. ^ David Cronin and Martin Banks (November 19, 2003), Afghanistan drug trade still proving a tough nut to crack European Voice.
  4. ^ Patrick Donahue (August 17, 2010), Germany’s Roettgen to Run for State CDU Leadership, Bild Says Bloomberg News.
  5. ^ hannover2012.cdu.de: Elections at the 25th party conference of the CDU in Germany
  6. ^ Helmut Rehmsen (November 30, 2015), Gespräch mit Armin Laschet über Flüchtlinge in Jordanien: "Die Grenzen sind hier immer schon offen" Archived December 12, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. WDR 2.
  7. ^ Robert Bosch Expert Commission to Consider a Realignment of Refugee Policy Robert Bosch Stiftung.
  8. ^ Armin Laschet ist CDU-Spitzenkandidat in NRW Bild, November 26, 2017.
  9. ^ Wahl der Mitglieder für die 16. Bundesversammlung Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia, decision of 14 December 2016.
  10. ^ Melanie Amann, Peter Müller, René Pfister and Christoph Schult (June 25, 2013), Chancellor Merkel Cools on European Integration Der Spiegel.
  11. ^ Jeff Black (August 16, 2011), Eurobond Support Growing in Merkel’s CDU, Handelsblatt Reports Bloomberg News.
  12. ^ Matthias Sobolewski (August 27, 2012), German lawmakers say "Grexit" not just economic risk Reuters.
  13. ^ George Soros and 95 others (12 October 2011). "As concerned Europeans we urge Eurozone leaders to unite". ft.com. Financial Times. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  14. ^ Justin Huggler (19 August 2016), Germany proposes burka ban for schools, universities and public workers The Daily Telegraph.
  15. ^ David Cronin (July 25, 2001), Palestinian books remind me of Nazis, says German MEP European Voice.
  16. ^ Peter Chapman (June 9, 2004), Monti backs UEFA foreign stadia rule European Voice.
  17. ^ Board of Trustees RAG-Stiftung.
  18. ^ Board of Trustees North Rhine-Westphalian Foundation for the Environment and Development (SUE).
  19. ^ Members of the Jury Wirtschaftliche Gesellschaft für Westfalen und Lippe.
  20. ^ Presidium United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN).

External links[edit]

Media related to Armin Laschet at Wikimedia Commons