Heiko Maas

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Heiko Maas
2017-11-29-Heiko Maas-Maischberger-5685.jpg
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Assumed office
14 March 2018
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Preceded by Sigmar Gabriel
Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection
In office
17 December 2013 – 14 March 2018
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Preceded by Sabine Leutheusser-
Schnarrenberger
(Justice)
Ilse Aigner (Food, Agriculture and
Consumer Protection)
Succeeded by Katarina Barley
Leader of the Social Democratic Party in Saarland
In office
16 November 2000 – 10 March 2018
Preceded by Reinhard Klimmt
Succeeded by Anke Rehlinger
Deputy Minister President of Saarland
In office
9 May 2012 – 17 December 2013
Minister President Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer
Preceded by Peter Jacoby
Succeeded by Anke Rehlinger
Minister for the Economy, Labour, Energy and Transport of Saarland
In office
9 May 2012 – 17 December 2013
Minister President Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer
Preceded by Peter Jacoby
Succeeded by Anke Rehlinger
Minister for Energy, Transport and the Environment
In office
9 November 1998 – 29 September 1999
Minister President Reinhard Klimmt
Preceded by Willy Leonhardt
Succeeded by Stefan Mörsdorf
Member of the Bundestag
for Saarland
Assumed office
24 September 2017
Preceded by Elke Ferner
Member of the Landtag of Saarland
In office
16 October 1994 – 17 December 2013
Personal details
Born Heiko Josef Maas
(1966-09-19) 19 September 1966 (age 51)
Saarlouis, West Germany (now Germany)
Political party Social Democratic Party
Alma mater Saarland University

Heiko Josef Maas (born 19 September 1966) is a German politician serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the fourth cabinet of Angela Merkel since 14 March 2018.[1] He served as Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection from 17 December 2013 to 14 March 2018. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party.

Maas was born in Saarlouis to a Catholic family, and is a lawyer. Before his appointment to the federal cabinet he was active in state politics in Saarland, where he served as Minister of the Environment, Energy and Transport (1998–1999), Minister of Economy, Labor, Energy and Transport (2012–2013) and Deputy Minister-President (2012–2013).[2]

Early life, education and family[edit]

Maas was born on 19 September 1966 to a Catholic, middle class family in Saarlouis, a city near the French border that is named for Louis XIV of France. His father was a professional soldier who later became a manager at Saarlouis Body & Assembly, a car plant owned by Ford Germany, while his mother was a dressmaker.[2] He graduated from the gymnasium in 1987 and served his compulsory military service from 1987 to 1988; he thereafter worked for a year at Saarlouis Body & Assembly. From 1989 he studied law at Saarland University, and he passed his first state examination in 1993 and was called to the bar in 1996.[3]

He is a co-habitant with the actress Natalia Wörner, and has two children from a former marriage.[4]

Political career[edit]

Maas was first elected to the Saarland Parliament in 1996, under the mentorship of Oskar Lafontaine who would later leave the Social Democrats to found his own party.[2][5] He served as Minister of the Environment, Energy and Transport from 9 November 1998 to 29 September 1999.

Maas led the SPD into the 2009 state election, in which his party only gained 24.5 percent, making it the party’s worst election result in the state.

Maas was a SPD delegate to the Federal Convention for the purpose of electing the President of Germany in 2010 and 2012.

After the 2012 state election, the SPD went into coalition with the CDU,[6] which before that election had been governing the state in coalition with the Green Party and the Liberals.[7] 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.[8] As deputy minister-president, he took over responsibility for the economy,[9] transport, and employment.[10]

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,[11] succeeding Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. He left his position of Deputy Minister-President of the Saarland and Minister of Economy, Labor, Energy and Transport he was holding since 9 May 2012.

He earned the nickname 'Prohibition Minister' by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung for his many unapproved legislative proposals.[12]

In June 2017, Maas disclosed to the Bild newspaper that he was the recent recipient of an unprecedented number of death threats including a bullet casing in the mailbox of his private residence. He attributed the threats to dissatisfaction with current German immigration policy.[13]

Political positions[edit]

Foreign policy[edit]

Since taking office as foreign minister in 2018, Maas has been markedly tougher than his immediate predecessors – Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Sigmar Gabriel – in his rhetoric and approach towards Russia. On his first day in office, he issued a frank warning about Russian “aggression” and chastised its leadership for “defining itself in antagonism to many in the west”.[14] Under his leadership, Germany – in coordination with its allies – expelled four Russian diplomats over Russia’s suspected involvement in the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in England.[15]

Also, Maas has voted in favor of German participation in United Nations peacekeeping missions as well as in United Nations-mandated European Union peacekeeping missions on the African continent, such as in Darfur/Sudan (2017 and 2018), South Sudan (2017 and 2018) and Mali (2017 and 2018).

Maas has supports the creation of an international financial system independent of the United States, including the creation of a European Monetary Fund and an independent version of the SWIFT network.[16]

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."[17]

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.[18] Shortly after, he and Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière (CDU) jointly submitted a draft law permitting the temporary retention of internet and telephone data – excluding e-mail traffic – to aid criminal investigations.[19]

Crime and prosecutions[edit]

Maas at the US State Department in 2018

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.[20]

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.[21] Range, meanwhile, had accused the government of interfering in the investigation.[21]

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."[22] In 2015, he endorsed criticism expressed by Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VzBz) which held that Facebook’s data protection terms were too vague.[23] Later that year, he publicly accused Facebook of doing too little to thwart racist posts and hate comments on the social media platform.[24]

Anti-whistleblower law[edit]

After the Netzpolitik scandal in 2015, where a German language blog leaked top secret documents, Maas proposed new legislation called 'Data Stolen Goods'.[25] Ulf Buermeyer, a judge at the District Court in Berlin[26] cautioned that this anti-whistleblower law would be a massive attack on democracy and freedom of speech.[27]

The law was passed as Section 202d of the German Penal Code (§202d StGB)[25] by the Bundestag on 16 October 2015.[28]

Freedom of speech[edit]

In early 2017, Maas proposed the "Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz" ("network enforcement law") to combat online hate speech and fake news.[29][30][31] The United Nations responded with a letter, warning that several democratic freedoms were under attack.[32] The proposed law was met with criticism throughout Germany from industry associations, IT experts, scientists, net-politicians, lawyers, privacy activists and civil rights campaigners who regard it as unconstitutional and defiant of EU-law and warn of "catastrophic effects for freedom of expression", causing online platforms to drastically censor online speech, resulting in privatization of legal enforcement and abolishing online anonymity.[33][34][35][36][37][38]

The law was passed on 30 June 2017. It also requires social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, to publish a biannual report on received complaints and how they dealt with them.[39][40] Fines of up to €50 million are possible for companies that "systematically refuse to act or do not set up a proper complaint management system" and some warn that this threat of punishment may motivate companies to delete content rather than risk punishment.[39] In 2018, it was reported that the law had led to the deletion of one of Maas's own tweets in which he said an opponent was an "idiot".[41]

State Trojan horse surveillance[edit]

On 22 June 2017, Maas expanded by 27 the number of offenses for which a lawful online search using malware can be used.[42][43][44] Experts and civil rights defenders have strongly criticized the law for being a gross provocation, violating privacy and undermining cyber-security. Maas has also been accused of using tricks for the proceeding of passing these amendments and using a "backdoor" that has "nothing to do with democratic debate culture".[45]

Gender policy[edit]

Law governing sexual offences[edit]

After the massive sexual assaults of New Year 2016 in Cologne,[46] Heiko Maas wanted to reform sexual prosecution laws.[47] Tonio Walter, writing an op-ed in Die Zeit, said that the law was overly broad: under a proposed ban on groping, he claimed, a wife could be punished for embracing her husband from behind, while rules against sex by coercion could punish a boss whose employee consented to sex under a (possibly mistaken, said Walter) fear of losing the job. Walter likewise said that the penalty of 10 years in prison for a sexual assault and 15 for rape by coercion would be too much, noting that non-sexual assaults received a lesser penalty under the laws.[48]

Sexist advertisement[edit]

In April 2016, Maas called for a legal ban on sexist advertisements, which "reduce women or men to sexual objects." Germany's Association of Communications Agencies (GWA) observed that it is a subjective matter of taste whether an advertisement is sexist or not. FDP leader Christian Lindner remarked that the proposed ban indicated a similar mindset as radical Islamic leaders.[49][50]

Other activities[edit]

Regulatory agencies[edit]

Corporate board[edit]

  • KfW, Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Supervisory Directors (since 2018)[52]
  • RAG-Stiftung, Member of the Board of Trustees (2013-2017)
  • SaarLB, Chairman of the Board of Directors
  • Saarländische Investitionskreditbank (SIKB), Ex-Officio Member of the Supervisory Board (-2013)[53]

Non-profit organizations[edit]

  • Aktion Deutschland Hilft (Germany's Relief Coalition), Ex-Officio Chairman of the Board of Trustees (since 2018)[54]
  • German Forum for Crime Prevention (DFK), Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Trustees[55]
  • Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation, Ex-Officio Chairman of the Board of Trustees (2013-2018)
  • RAG-Stiftung, ex-officio Member of the Board of Trustees (since 2015)
  • Saarländische Investitionskreditbank AG (SIKB), Chairman of the Supervisory Board
  • Saarland University Hospital, Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board
  • Völklingen Ironworks, Member of the Supervisory Board

Personal life[edit]

Maas enjoys football and is a triathlete. He is married and has two children.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SPD: Heiko Maas wird Außenminister in neuer Bundesregierung - SPIEGEL ONLINE". www.spiegel.de (in German). Retrieved 2018-03-08. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Im Profile Heiko Maas" (PDF). SPD Saarland. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "Heiko Maas". Munzinger. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Natalia Wörner über die Liebe zu Heiko Maas. In: vip.de
  5. ^ Furlong, Ray (15 September 2005). "German election diary: 15 Sep". BBC News. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Politik (26 March 2012). "Saarland: Kramp-Karrenbauer als Ministerpräsidentin wiedergewählt". Spiegel. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Huge defeat for German Free Democrats in Saarland". BBC. 25 March 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  8. ^ Brian Parkin and Tony Czuczka (26 March 2012), Merkel’s Party Wins Saarland State in Show of Crisis Backing Bloomberg News.
  9. ^ "Schließungspläne für die Schleuse Güdingen?". SR-online. 14 June 2013. Archived from the original on 27 June 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "Politik Kompakt I - Nachrichten Print". Die Welt. 6 February 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "Merkel rival to take toughest job in new-look cabinet". France24. 15 December 2013. Archived from the original on 17 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  12. ^ Autor, Zum (2016-04-14). "Ohne Ziegen: Verbotsminister Heiko Maas und seine willigen Helferinnen - Stützen der Gesellschaft". Stützen der Gesellschaft (in German). Retrieved 2016-04-14. 
  13. ^ "Far-right targets German justice minister with 'disgusting' death threats | News". DW.COM. Deutsche Welle. 5 June 2017. Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  14. ^ Tobias Buck (March 29, 2018), German foreign minister Heiko Maas makes waves Financial Times.
  15. ^ Joseph Nasr (March 30, 2018), Russia expels four German diplomats in nerve agent poisoning dispute Reuters.
  16. ^ Chazan, Guy (August 21, 2018). "Germany calls for global payments system free of US". Financial Times. 
  17. ^ Frank Jack Daniel and Peter Cooney (10 December 2014), Psychologist Says U.S. Senate's CIA Report Makes False Charges New York Times.
  18. ^ Daniel Tost (5 February 2015), Germany set to pass ‘one of the harshest’ anti-terror laws in Europe EurActiv.
  19. ^ Daniel Tost (16 April 2015), German government repackages data retention regulations EurActiv.
  20. ^ German justice minister announces harsher punishment against sexual assault Deutsche Welle.
  21. ^ a b German Justice Minister Fires Country's Top Prosecutor New York Times, 4 August 2015.
  22. ^ Jeevan Vasagar (15 September 2014), Transcript of interview with Heiko Maas, German justice minister Financial Times.
  23. ^ Natascha Divac (26 February 2015), German Consumer Group Warns Facebook Over Data Protection Wall Street Journal.
  24. ^ Erik Kirschbaum (27 August 2015), German justice minister takes aim at Facebook over racist posts Reuters.
  25. ^ a b "Strafgesetzbuch (StGB) § 202d Datenhehlerei". Bundesministerium für Justiz und für Verbraucherschutz (in German). Retrieved 2016-02-21. 
  26. ^ "buermeyer.de | Ulf Buermeyer". buermeyer.de. 2015-10-04. Retrieved 2016-02-21. 
  27. ^ Buermeyer, Ulf. "Maas und die Datenhehlerei? Gastbeitrag von Ulf Buermeyer". Süddeutsche (in German). ISSN 0174-4917. Retrieved 2016-02-21. 
  28. ^ Markard, Nora (19 January 2017). "GFF and its partners challenge anti-whistleblowing provision on handling „stolen" data". freiheitsrechte.org. Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte e.V. Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  29. ^ "Erdoganismus in Reinkultur". 
  30. ^ "Hass im Netz: Wirtschaft und Aktivisten verbünden sich gegen Maas-Gesetz - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Netzwelt". 
  31. ^ ""Deklaration für die Meinungsfreiheit" gegen Gesetz von Heiko Maas". 
  32. ^ "Alle gegen Heiko Maas: ...und nur Natalia hält noch zu ihm". SPIEGEL ONLINE. Retrieved 2017-06-29. 
  33. ^ "Neuer Entwurf des "Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetzes": Frontalangriff auf das Vertrauen im Internet". Heise. 
  34. ^ ""Ende der Anonymität im Netz": Maas verschärft Gesetzesentwurf gegen Hate Speech". Heise. 
  35. ^ "Hate-Speech: Katalog der zu löschenden Inhalte wurde erweitert". Die Zeit. 29 March 2017. 
  36. ^ "Zensur befürchtet: SPD-naher Verein zerreißt Maas' Facebook-Gesetz - heute-Nachrichten". 
  37. ^ https://netzpolitik.org/2017/hate-speech-gesetz-schon-ausgeweitet-bevor-es-in-kraft-tritt/
  38. ^ Beuth, Patrick (11 April 2017). "Heiko Maas: Breites Bündnis gegen das Facebookgesetz" – via Die Zeit. 
  39. ^ a b "Germany approves plans to fine social media firms up to €50m". The Guardian. 30 June 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  40. ^ Severin, Thorsten (30 June 2017). "German parliament backs plan to fine social media over hate speech". Reuters. Berlin. Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  41. ^ Myers, Fraser (2018-05-24). "'Internet safety' just means Internet censorship". Spiked Online. Retrieved 2018-06-05. 
  42. ^ Rath, Christian. "Große Koalition will den Staatstrojaner: Der Spion in deinem Handy". die tageszeitung. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  43. ^ Mühlbauer, Peter. "Maas' Zensurgesetz: Verbände hoffen auf Union und EU-Kommission" (in German). Telepolis. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  44. ^ "Große Koalition beschließt Ausweitung bei Staatstrojaner und Online-Durchsuchung". netzpolitik.org (in German). Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  45. ^ Mühlbauer, Peter. "Staatstrojaner im doppelten Sinne" (in German). Telepolis. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  46. ^ "Germany shocked by Cologne New Year gang assaults on women - BBC News". Retrieved 2016-02-21. 
  47. ^ "BMJV | Interviews | Sexuelle Gewalt findet in der Mitte unserer Gesellschaft statt". Tagesspiegel. 2016-02-06. Retrieved 2016-02-21. 
  48. ^ "Sexualstrafrecht: Zu früh, zu weit | ZEIT ONLINE". Retrieved 2016-02-21. 
  49. ^ "Justice Minister: Ban Sexy Adverts to End Migrant Rape Epidemic". Breitbart. 2016-04-13. Retrieved 2016-06-05. 
  50. ^ "German Justice Minister Maas slammed over proposed 'sexist advert' ban - News". DW.COM. 2016-04-11. Retrieved 2016-04-14. 
  51. ^ Benennung eines Mitglieds für den Beirat der Bundesnetzagentur für Elektrizität, Gas, Telekommunikation, Post und Eisenbahnen Bundesrat, document no. 46/14, February 11, 2014.
  52. ^ Board of Supervisory Directors and its Committees KfW.
  53. ^ Ursula Scheer (January 15, 2013), Politiker in Aufsichtsräten: Gefährliche Ämter-Überhäufung Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
  54. ^ Board of TrusteesAktion Deutschland Hilft.
  55. ^ Board of Trustees German Forum for Crime Prevention (DFK).

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger
as Minister of Justice
Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection
2013–2018
Succeeded by
Katarina Barley
Preceded by
Ilse Aigner
as Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection
Preceded by
Sigmar Gabriel
Minister for Foreign Affairs
2018–present
Incumbent