Franziska Giffey

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Franziska Giffey
Giffey in 2022
Deputy Governing Mayor of Berlin
Assumed office
27 April 2023
Serving with Stefan Evers
Governing MayorKai Wegner
Preceded byBettina Jarasch
Senator for Economy, Energy and Enterprise of Berlin
Assumed office
27 April 2023
Governing MayorKai Wegner
Preceded byStephan Schwarz
Governing Mayor of Berlin
In office
21 December 2021 – 27 April 2023
DeputyBettina Jarasch
Klaus Lederer
Preceded byMichael Müller
Succeeded byKai Wegner
Leader of the
Social Democratic Party in Berlin
Assumed office
28 November 2020
Serving with Raed Saleh
DeputyIna Czyborra
Andreas Geisel
Iris Spranger
Julian Zado
Preceded byMichael Müller
Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth
In office
14 March 2018 – 20 May 2021
ChancellorAngela Merkel
Preceded byKatarina Barley
Succeeded byChristine Lambrecht
Mayor of Neukölln
In office
15 April 2015 – 14 March 2018
Preceded byHeinz Buschkowsky
Succeeded byMartin Hikel
Member of the
Berlin House of Representatives
for Neukölln 6
Assumed office
4 November 2021
Preceded byKarin Korte
Personal details
Franziska Süllke

(1978-05-03) 3 May 1978 (age 46)
Frankfurt (Oder), Bezirk Frankfurt, East Germany
(now in Brandenburg, Germany)
Political partySocial Democratic Party (2007–)
Karsten Giffey
(m. 2008)
Alma materHumboldt University of Berlin (no degree)
Free University of Berlin (no degree)
Fachhochschule für Verwaltung und Rechtspflege Berlin
  • Politician
  • Docent
  • Civil Servant
WebsiteOfficial website

Franziska Giffey (German: [fʁanˈtsɪska ˈɡɪfaɪ̯], née Süllke, born 3 May 1978) is a German politician of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) who is serving as Berlin State Senator for Economy, Energy and Enterprise since 2023. She served as Governing Mayor of Berlin from December 2021 to April 2023.[1][2] She previously served as Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth in the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel from 2018 until 2021.[3][4] From 2015 to 2018, she was the mayor of the borough of Neukölln in Berlin.[3][5]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Frankfurt (Oder), Giffey grew up in Briesen. After her Abitur in 1997, she started studying English and French at Humboldt University of Berlin in order to become a teacher, but had to leave the profession in 1998 for medical reasons.[6] She subsequently studied administrative law at the Fachhochschule für Verwaltung und Rechtspflege (public administration) in Berlin from 1998 until 2001. During her graduate studies in European administrative management from 2003 to 2005, she worked at the Representation of Berlin to the European Union in Brussels in 2003 and at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg in 2005. In 2005, she started extra-occupational doctoral studies at the Free University of Berlin, where she received her doctorate in 2010. Her thesis dealt with the inclusion of civil society by the European Commission in EU decision-making. However, on 10 June 2021, her doctorate was annulled for plagiarism by the presidium of the Free University of Berlin.

In addition to her studies, she worked as Commissioner for European Affairs in the district administration of Neukölln from 2002 to 2010.

Political career[edit]

Giffey joined the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in 2007.

In 2015, Giffey succeeded Heinz Buschkowsky as mayor of the Berlin district of Neukölln, home to many immigrants and high unemployment.[3][5]

Federal Minister of Family Affairs, 2018–2021[edit]

After the formation of a grand coalition between the CDU under Chancellor Angela Merkel and the SPD in the wake of the 2017 federal election, Giffey was appointed member of the fourth Merkel cabinet in March 2018, serving as Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. She succeeded Katarina Barley in this office, who became Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection.

Following the 2018 Chemnitz protests, Giffey was the first member of Merkel's cabinet to visit the site where a 35-year-old German carpenter was stabbed to death.[7]

In mid-2020, Giffey presented the government's first equality strategy, which bundled together measures that aim to get more women into leadership roles, narrow the gender pay gap, and improve work-life balance.[8] By early 2021, she introduced legislation introducing stricter gender equality rules for government-controlled companies and measures to force larger listed companies to have at least one woman on their management boards.[9][10]

Allegations of plagiarism and resignation[edit]

In 2019, allegations of plagiarism prompted the Free University of Berlin to review Giffey's 2010 dissertation. In response, Giffey announced that she would resign if her doctorate was revoked and she would not run for the leadership of her party due to the ongoing investigation.[11]

On 10 June 2021, the presidium of the Free University of Berlin unanimously stripped Giffey of her doctorate, saying she was guilty of 'at least partially intentional deception' and citing 69 instances in the 200-page thesis when citations were either not at all or improperly attributed.[12]

Giffey resigned as minister on 19 May 2021 but immediately won the candidacy for Berlin mayor from the SPD, which she did not relinquish until the end of her term in April 2023.[13]

Mayor of Berlin, 2021–2023[edit]

Giffey as elected Mayor of Berlin (December 2021)

When Berlin's governing mayor Michael Müller announced his intention not to run again for his party's leadership in the state, Giffey and Raed Saleh expressed their intention to take over as dual leaders.[14] On 26 September 2021, the SPD, which Giffey served as the Mayoral candidate for in Berlin, would retain most seats in the Berlin House of Representatives following the 2021 Berlin state election.[2] On 28 November 2021, a coalition agreement between the SPD, the Green Party and the Left Party in Berlin was finalized, though the proposed government program still awaited approval from individual party committees before Giffey could take office.[15] On 5 December 2021, 91.5 percent of Berlin's SPD delegates approved the coalition agreement.[16] On 21 December 2021, Giffey was sworn in as Mayor of Berlin after 84 Berlin House deputies voted in favor of her, while 52 voted against her and two abstained.[1]

Giffey was nominated by her party as delegate to the Federal Convention for the purpose of electing the President of Germany in 2022.[17]

2023 onwards[edit]

Against the backdrop of a series of assaults on German politicians, Giffey was attacked during an event on 7 May 2024 at a Berlin library, sustaining injuries to her head and neck.[18] A 74-year-old man was detained in connection with the attack.[19] Reacting to the attacks, she expressed shock at how people engaged in politics had increasingly become targets for violence and called for societal resistance against such attacks.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Giffey has been married to a veterinarian since 2008; the couple has one child. Her nephew is basketball player Niels Giffey.[21]


  1. ^ a b "Berlin: Franziska Giffey sworn in as first elected female mayor". Deutsche Welle. 21 December 2021. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  2. ^ a b "German capital Berlin to get first female mayor". Reuters. 27 September 2021. Retrieved 18 December 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Keilani, Fatina; Alten, Saara von (15 April 2015). "Buschkowsky-Nachfolgerin: Franziska Giffey als Bürgermeisterin gewählt" (in German). Tagesspiegel. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  4. ^ Monath, Hans; Van Bebber, Werner; Heine, Hannes (9 March 2018). "Große Koalition SPD-Ministerin Franziska Giffey: Von Berlin-Neukölln nach überall" (in German). Tagesspiegel. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  5. ^ a b Hansen, Holger; Martin, Michelle Martin (9 March 2018). "German government takes shape as SPD names ministers". Reuters. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  6. ^ Klesmann, Martin (4 August 2014). "Franziska Giffey in Neukölln: Diese Frau wird Buschkowskys Nachfolgerin" (in German), Berliner Zeitung. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  7. ^ Shalal, Andrea; Busemann, Hans-Edzard (31 August 2018). "Stabbing suspect in Germany was slated for deportation: court". Reuters. Retrieved 8 May 2024.
  8. ^ Hansen, Holger; Rinke, Andreas; Thomasson, Emma; Escritt, Thomas (8 July 2020). Heinrich, Mark (ed.). "No more glass ceiling? Germany seeks female boardroom quota deal". Reuters. Retrieved 8 May 2024.
  9. ^ Rinke, Andreas; Escritt, Thomas (20 November 2020). McCool, Grant (ed.). "Germany agrees women quotas for company boards". Reuters. Retrieved 8 May 2024.
  10. ^ Sheahan, Maria (6 January 2021). Thomasson, Emma; Donovan, Kirsten (eds.). "German cabinet agrees quota for women on company boards". Reuters. Retrieved 8 May 2024.
  11. ^ German minister offers to resign if university revokes title Associated Press, 15 August 2019.
  12. ^ Warnecke, Tilmann; Kixmüller, Jan; Burchard, Amory (10 June 2021). "Verstöße prägen die gesamte Arbeit". Der Tagesspiegel Online.
  13. ^ "Familienministerin Giffey tritt zurück" [Family minister Giffey resigns]. (in German). 19 May 2021. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  14. ^ Nikki Motson (30 January 2020), In Brief: Berlin SPD chief Michael Müller is stepping aside to make way for a new team of leaders KCRW.
  15. ^ "Red-Green-Red coalition agreement finalized". 28 November 2021. Retrieved 18 December 2021.
  16. ^ "SPD in Berlin approves the new coalition agreement between red-green-red". News 24. 5 December 2021. Retrieved 18 December 2021.
  17. ^ 17th Federal Convention, 13 February 2022, List of Members Bundestag.
  18. ^ Grieshaber, Kirsten (8 May 2024). "Another German politician is attacked as concerns rise over violence ahead of EU elections in June". Associated Press. Retrieved 8 May 2024.
  19. ^ "Franziska Giffey attack: Police detain 74-year-old man". Deutsche Welle. 8 May 2024. Retrieved 8 May 2024.
  20. ^ Kirby, Paul (8 May 2024). "German politician attacked in library as violence spreads". Retrieved 8 May 2024.
  21. ^ Spannagel, Lars (9 March 2018). "Alba-Kapitän Niels Giffey über Franziska Giffey: Sie kommt immer sehr ambitioniert rüber" (in German). Interview with Niels Giffey. Tagesspiegel. Retrieved 26 September 2022.