Franz Josef Jung

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Franz Josef Jung
MK19946 Franz Josef Jung.jpg
Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs
In office
28 October 2009 – 27 November 2009
Preceded by Olaf Scholz
Succeeded by Ursula von der Leyen
Federal Minister of Defence
In office
22 November 2005 – 27 October 2009
Preceded by Peter Struck
Succeeded by Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg
Member of the Bundestag
Assumed office
State Minister for Federal and European Affairs of Hesse
In office
7 April 1999 – 7 September 2000
Preceded by Norbert Schüren
Rupert von Plottnitz
Succeeded by Jochen Riebel
Personal details
Born (1949-03-05) 5 March 1949 (age 67)
Erbach, Germany
Nationality German
Political party Christian Democratic Union (CDU)
Alma mater University of Mainz
Profession Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholic

Franz Josef Jung (born 5 March 1949) is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). He became Federal Minister of Defence in the Grand coalition cabinet of Angela Merkel on 22 November 2005.[1] In October 2009 he became Minister of Labour and Social Affairs but resigned a month later.

Life and work[edit]

After his military service, Franz Josef Jung studied law at the University of Mainz and is a lawyer and civil law notary. In 1978 Jung successfully completed his doctoral studies at the University of Mainz and was hence awarded the title Dr. jur. (i.e. PhD in Law). In his political career, he held various party functions in Hesse (currently as vice chairman of the CDU there) and also served as a state minister. As Minister-President Roland Koch's chief of staff in the Hesse chancellery, Jung resigned amid the CDU donations scandal in 2000.[2]

Even before entering the Bundestag, Jung was a CDU delegate to the Federal Convention for the purpose of electing the President of Germany in 1989, 1994, 1999 and 2004.

Federal Minister of Defence, 2005-2009[edit]

Following the 2005 federal elections, Jung became a member of the German Bundestag and joined the first cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Between December 2005[3] and March 2009, Jung visited the German military bases in Kunduz, Mazar-i-Sharif and Faizabad three times.[4][5] During a later trip to Northern Afghanistan in early April 2009, he joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel in visiting reconstruction efforts in Mazar-i-Sharif.[6]

In September 2007, Jung sparked a debate by his controversial assertion to shoot down jetliners in the case of a terrorist attack on Germany.[7] Several politicians of the opposition parties as well as politicians from the SPD, especially Reinhard Bütikofer and Kurt Beck, described his move as "unconstitutional" and called for his resignation.[8]

In early 2008, Jung rejected a sharply worded letter from his United States counterpart, Robert M. Gates, asking that Germany send soldiers and helicopters to southern Afghanistan, where the heaviest fighting was taking place at the tim. Instead, Jung announced that Germany would deploy a rapid reaction force in northern Afghanistan to replace Norwegian troops.[9]

On 27 November 2009, Jung tendered his resignation as Minister of Labour and Social Affairs because of the Kunduz airstrike in Afghanistan of 4 September 2009.[10] The airstrike was against two fuel tankers that had been hijacked by the Taliban but also resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians.[11] Jung's resignation was over allegations that, whilst he was Defence Minister, he intentionally downplayed the possibility that civilians had been killed in the airstrike.[12] A video taken by the American F-15 fighter bomber involved in the airstrike was leaked to the newspaper Bild and is said to have clearly depicted civilians in the target area.[12] However, it is not clear whether Jung knew about the video when he had denied that civilians were killed.[13] Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg succeeded Jung in the post.[10]

Jung's resignation came a day after the resignation of Wolfgang Schneiderhan, the Chief of Staff of the Bundeswehr, and Peter Wichert, a senior Defence Ministry official.[11] Their resignations were described as Germany's "biggest military shake-up in more than two decades" and have been claimed as proof that the defence ministry actively suppressed information about the incident.[12][14]

Member of the Bundestag, 2009-present[edit]

From 2009 until 2013, Jung was a member of the parliamentary body in charge of selecting the judges of the Highest Courts of Justice, namely the Federal Court of Justice (BGH), the Federal Administrative Court (BVerwG), the Federal Fiscal Court (BFH), the Federal Labour Court (BAG), and the Federal Social Court (BSG).

After the 2013 elections, Jung was appointed deputy chairperson of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in charge of food, agriculture and consumer protection. Following the death of Andreas Schockenhoff, he took on the foreign policy portfolio in early 2015.

In July 2016, Jung announced that he would not stand in the 2017 federal elections but instead resign from active politics by the end of the parliamentary term.[15]

Other activities[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Jung is a Roman Catholic. He is married with three children and lives in Erbach, Rheingau.


  1. ^ Jung at
  2. ^ Judy Dempsey (October 18, 2005), Merkel Appoints 6 Conservatives to Join a Shaky German Cabinet New York Times.
  3. ^ Joachim Hagen (December 23, 2005), Opinion: Germany's Afghan Job Still Important, Still Dangerous Deutsche Welle.
  4. ^ Steinmeier Reasserts Germany's Pledge to Afghanistan Deutsche Welle, August 21, 2006.
  5. ^ German Defense Minister Visits Troops Amid Afghanistan Debate Deutsche Welle, March 9, 2009.
  6. ^ Merkel visits German troops in Afghanistan Reuters, April 6, 2009.
  7. ^ German defence minister ready to shoot down hijacked planes - The Guardian - 20 September 2007
  8. ^ Terrorabwehr: SPD und Grüne empört über Jungs Abschuss-Pläne - Der Spiegel
  9. ^ Helene Cooper and Nicholas Kulish (February 7, 2008), Condoleezza Rice Visits Afghanistan New York Times.
  10. ^ a b "Merkel Cabinet Reshuffle: Minister Jung Resigns amid Afghanistan Airstrike Scandal". Der Spiegel. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Germany's top soldier quits over Afghanistan raid". BBC News. 26 November 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2009. 
  12. ^ a b c Boyes, Roger (26 November 2009). "Germany's top soldier Wolfgang Schneiderhan quits over airstrike blunder". The Times. Retrieved 26 November 2009. 
  13. ^ "German minister Franz Josef Jung resigns over raid". BBC News. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  14. ^ Connolly, Kate (26 November 2009). "German army chief resigns over Afghanistan air strike". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2009. 
  15. ^ Auch Jung tritt nicht mehr an Frankfurter Rundschau, July 3, 2016.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Norbert Schüren, Rupert von Plottnitz
Hessian Minister for Federal and European Affairs
Succeeded by
Jochen Riebel
Preceded by
Peter Struck
German Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg
Preceded by
Olaf Scholz
German Minister of Labour and Social Affairs
Succeeded by
Ursula von der Leyen