Heiko Maas

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Heiko Maas
Heiko Maas Berlin 2015-08-29.jpg
Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection
Assumed office
17 December 2013
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Preceded by Sabine Leutheusser-
Schnarrenberger
(Justice)
Ilse Aigner (Food, Agriculture and
Consumer Protection)
Personal details
Born (1966-09-19) 19 September 1966 (age 48)
Saarlouis, Germany
Political party Social Democratic Party
Alma mater Saarland University

Heiko Maas (born 19 September 1966) is a German SPD politician. He is Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection since 17 December 2013. Before he has been the leader of the SPD group in the Saarland regional parliament since 1999.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Maas was born in Saarlouis on 19 September 1966.[1] He studied law at Saarland University.[2]

Political career[edit]

Maas was first appointed to the Saarland Parliament in 1996, under the mentorship of Oskar Lafontaine who would later leave the Social Democrats to found his own party.[1][3]

Leading the SPD into the 2009 state election only months before the federal elections that year, Maas announced he would form a coalition with Lafontaine’s Left Party should the two obtain a majority, suggesting that the party could become a potential ally for the SPD at federal level in the 2013 election.[4][5] At the time, any such coalition in Saarland was widely seen as undermining the pledge made by the Social Democrat’s candidate for the federal elections, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, not to rule with the Left Party.[6] Eventually, the SPD only gained 24.5 percent, making it the party’s worst election result in the state.

After the 2012 state election, the SPD went into coalition with the CDU,[7] which before that election had been governing the state in coalition with the Green Party and the Liberals.[8] While the Social Democrats and Left had won enough seats to form a coalition, Maas ruled out such an alliance in favor of a coalition with the CDU led by incumbent Minister-President Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.[9] As deputy minister-president, he took over responsibility for the economy,[10] transport, and employment.[11]

Following the 2013 federal elections, Maas was part of the SPD team in the negotiations with the CDU/CSU on a coalition agreement; he was a member of the energy policy working group led by Peter Altmaier and Hannelore Kraft. On 17 December 2013, he was sworn in as the minister of justice and consumer protection in the third cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel,[12] succeeding Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger.

Political positions[edit]

Homeland security[edit]

Following the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture in December 2014, Maas told German newspaper Bild: "The CIA's practice of torture is gruesome […] Everybody involved must be legally prosecuted."[13]

In early 2015, Maas successfully introduced a new law meant to mitigate radical Islamist attacks, by making it a criminal offence to travel abroad to receive military training.[14] Shortly after, he and Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière (CDU) jointly submitted a draft law permitting the temporary retention of internet and telefone data – excluding e-mail traffic – to aid criminal investigations.[15]

Crime and prosecutions[edit]

In July 2015, Maas announced plans to amend Germany's penal code on sexual assault in accordance with the Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe; the reform is to punish abuse which exploits a victim's fear of a "perceived menace" and tighten sentences in rape cases.[16]

In August 2015, Maas initiated the dismissal and retirement of chief federal prosecutor Harald Range; his ministry had questioned Range's decision to open a much-criticized treason investigation against journalists of netzpolitik.org who had reported about plans of Germany's domestic spy agency – the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution – to expand surveillance of online communication.[17] Range, meanwhile, had accused the government of interfering in the investigation.[18]

Digital policy[edit]

In a 2014 interview with the Financial Times, Maas called it "not acceptable" that Google "dominates the search engine world, and is able to rank its search results in a manner apt to promote its own business interests."[19] In 2015, he endorsed criticsm expressed by Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VzBz) which held that Facebook’s data protection terms were too vague.[20]

Other activities[edit]

  • Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation, President of the Board of Trustees
  • Saarländische Investitionskreditbank AG (SIKB), Chairman of the Supervisory Board
  • SaarLB, Chairman of the Board of Directors
  • Saarland University Hospital, Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board
  • Völklingen Ironworks, Member of the Supervisory Board
  • Federal Network Agency, Member of the Advisory Board

Personal life[edit]

Maas enjoys football and is a triathlete. He is married and has two children.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Im Profile Heiko Maas" (PDF). SPD Saarland. 2011. Retrieved June 2013. 
  2. ^ "Heiko Maas". Munzinger. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Furlong, Ray (15 September 2005). "German election diary: 15 Sep". BBC News. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Bertrand Benoit (August 17, 2009), SPD regional chief eyes deal with Left Financial Times.
  5. ^ Bertrand Benoit (August 20, 2009), Allure of an alliance Financial Times.
  6. ^ Bertrand Benoit (August 17, 2009), SPD regional chief eyes deal with Left Financial Times.
  7. ^ Politik (26 March 2012). "Saarland: Kramp-Karrenbauer als Ministerpräsidentin wiedergewählt". Spiegel. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Huge defeat for German Free Democrats in Saarland". BBC. 25 March 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  9. ^ Brian Parkin and Tony Czuczka (March 26, 2012), Merkel’s Party Wins Saarland State in Show of Crisis Backing Bloomberg News.
  10. ^ "Schließungspläne für die Schleuse Güdingen?". SR-online. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "Politik Kompakt I - Nachrichten Print". Die Welt. 6 February 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "Merkel rival to take toughest job in new-look cabinet". France24. 15 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  13. ^ Frank Jack Daniel and Peter Cooney (December 10, 2014), Psychologist Says U.S. Senate's CIA Report Makes False Charges New York Times.
  14. ^ Daniel Tost (February 5, 2015), Germany set to pass ‘one of the harshest’ anti-terror laws in Europe EurActiv.
  15. ^ Daniel Tost (April 16, 2015), German government repackages data retention regulations EurActiv.
  16. ^ German justice minister announces harsher punishment against sexual assault Deutsche Welle.
  17. ^ German Justice Minister Fires Country's Top Prosecutor New York Times, August 4, 2015.
  18. ^ German Justice Minister Fires Country's Top Prosecutor New York Times, August 4, 2015.
  19. ^ Jeevan Vasagar (September 15, 2014), Transcript of interview with Heiko Maas, German justice minister Financial Times.
  20. ^ Natascha Divac (February 26, 2015), German Consumer Group Warns Facebook Over Data Protection Wall Street Journal.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger
as Minister of Justice
Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection
2013–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Ilse Aigner
as Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection