|Chairman of the Social Democratic Party|
19 March 2017
|Preceded by||Sigmar Gabriel|
|President of the European Parliament|
17 January 2012 – 17 January 2017
|Preceded by||Jerzy Buzek|
|Succeeded by||Antonio Tajani|
|Leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats|
5 July 2004 – 17 January 2012
|Preceded by||Enrique Barón Crespo|
|Succeeded by||Hannes Swoboda|
|Member of the European Parliament|
19 July 1994 – 10 February 2017
20 December 1955 |
Hehlrath, West Germany
(now Eschweiler, Germany)
|Political party||Social Democratic Party|
Martin Schulz (born 20 December 1955) is a German politician and the chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). He was the President of the European Parliament from 2012 to 2017. In November 2016, he announced he would not seek a third term, but instead would stand in 2017 as the SPD candidate for the German Chancellorship. Prior to his Presidency of the European Parliament, he was the leader of its Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group. Elected as European Parliament President in 2012, Schulz was re-elected on 1 July 2014. On 17 January 2017, he was succeeded by Antonio Tajani of the EPP. In January 2017, Sigmar Gabriel announced he is not going to be SPD candidate for the German Chancellorship in favour of Martin Schulz. Furthermore, he announced he would not stand for re-election as party leader and recommended Martin Schulz as his replacement.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Early career in Municipal politics: 1987–1998
- 3 Member of the European Parliament (MEP), 1994–2017
- 4 Domestic politics
- 5 Political positions
- 6 Other activities
- 7 Controversy
- 8 Personal life
- 9 Honours and decorations
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Martin Schulz was born in the village of Hehlrath, which is now a part of Eschweiler in western Rhineland, near the Dutch and Belgian borders, as one of five children. His father, Albert Schulz, was a local policeman and belonged to a social democratic family; his mother, Clara, belonged to a conservative Catholic family and was active in the Christian Democratic Union. Having grown up in the border area between Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, Schulz has relatives in all three countries.
After four years at primary school, from 1962 to 1966, Schulz attended the Heilig-Geist (Holy Spirit) gymnasium, a private Roman Catholic school run by the Holy Ghost Fathers (or Spiritans), in Broich (now Würselen), a district of the town of Broichweiden, for nine years. As a teenager, he went to France on a school exchange programme. He left school without passing his Abitur after failing the 11th grade twice.
From 1975 to 1977 Schulz then trained to be a bookseller. The next two years he worked for a number of publishing houses and bookshops. Schulz suffered from alcoholism and tried to commit suicide on June 26, 1980. After a successful rehab Schulz opened his own bookshop in Würselen in 1982.
Early career in Municipal politics: 1987–1998
In 1974, at the age of 19, Schulz joined the SPD, became involved with the Young Socialists and in 1984 was elected to the Würselen Municipal Council, remaining a member for just over two electoral terms, to 1998, from 1987 onwards as mayor. At 31, he was then the youngest mayor in North Rhine-Westphalia. He held that office until 1998. As a municipal counselor he initiated the twinning of Würselen with the city of Morlaix in French Brittany, where he became friends with Marylise Lebranchu, who was the mayor and later became French Minister of Justice (2000-2002) and Minister for Public Services (2012-2016).
Member of the European Parliament (MEP), 1994–2017
In the 1994 European elections Schulz was elected to the European Parliament and between 2000 and 2004 was chair of the SPD delegation. Schulz has served on a number of committees, including the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the Subcommittee on Human Rights. He led the German delegation of the Socialist group (SPD members) from 2000 and was also a vice-chair of the Socialist Group in the EP. He was elected group leader in 2004, of the PSE Group, succeeding the Spaniard Enrique Barón Crespo, a position held until he was elected EP president. Since 2009, Schulz has also acted as the representative for European Affairs for Germany's SPD party and his views have deeply influenced his party's pro-European politics.
In 2004 as Leader of the S&D group, Schulz introduced a motion in the European Parliament to refuse to give approval/consent to the Barroso Commission on the basis of the proposed appointment of Italian nominee Rocco Buttiglione and his publicly expressed homophobic views. A large majority of MEPs from the other political groups followed and consequently Buttiglione was withdrawn and replaced by Franco Frattini.
By 2008, SPD chairman Kurt Beck has said he wanted Schulz to succeed Günter Verheugen as Germany's EU commissioner following the 2009 European elections; the post eventually went to Günther Oettinger.
President of the European Parliament, 2012–2017
Following the 2009 European elections Schulz came to public attention when he insisted that his group should not immediately approve a second term of office for European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and instead, together with the Chair of the Green Group in the European Parliament, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, proposed the Belgian Liberal Guy Verhofstadt as a candidate for that office. Following reassurances by Barroso, Schulz dropped his categorical opposition to him, insisting only that he should make certain political concessions to the Social Democrats. As a result, the majority of the group abstained on the confidence vote to Barroso.
On 15 September 2011, members of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament unanimously nominated Schulz as their candidate for the President of the European Parliament. On 17 January 2012, Schulz was elected as President of the European Parliament, with 387 votes in favour out of 670 cast. Other candidates were Nirj Deva (142 votes) and Diana Wallis (141 votes).
Together with EU Commission President Barroso and EU Council President Herman van Rompuy, Schulz collected the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the European Union. The Prize, honoring "over six decades [having] contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe", was awarded by a unanimous decision of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
As president of European Parliament, Schulz proved extremely adept at delicate diplomatic missions, such as his visit with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following the 2016 coup attempt and his visit with Iranian President Hassan Rohani in November 2015 to "intensify dialogue" between the EU and Iran a few months after the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
In November 2016, Schulz announced that he would not run for a third term in January 2017, and instead return to German politics. He resigned his seat on 10 February 2017, leaving the European Parliament after more than twenty-two years.
Candidacy for President of the European Commission
On 6 November 2013, Schulz was nominated as "candidate designate" by the Party of European Socialists – at the time the second-largest group in the 750-seat parliament –, with the aim to become the first candidate to be elected President of the European Commission by democratic elections. He was unopposed, as no other candidate stepped forward to challenge him in the race to be the socialist campaign figurehead. This kicked off a tour to all member states and particularly all member parties.
On 1 March 2014, Schulz accepted the nomination of the Party of European Socialists in Rome. He was elected by 368 PES members out of 404, with only 2 votes against him. Prior to the vote, in what was widely seen as a clear signal to its European partners on the left that there are limits to their support for the EU, Britain's Labour Party had publicly spoken out against Schulz as the left's candidate, instead favouring Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark's Social Democrats. Schulz launched his European campaign on 17 April in front of 1,600 socialist activists in Paris, promising to tackle taxes and social dumping. He ran against Conservative Jean-Claude Juncker, then Prime Minister of Luxembourg, and Liberal Guy Verhofstadt.
However, when the Socialists came second in the European election behind the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), Germany's Social Democrats announced that they would accept one of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives taking the German post on the European Commission if Schulz remained president of the European Parliament. The decision to back Juncker for the Commission's presidency instead was later endorsed at an informal meeting in Paris of eight Social Democratic leaders, including Thorning-Schmidt, Sigmar Gabriel of Germany and Werner Faymann of Austria. Accordingly, Schulz did not join the European Commission but remained in his current position.
Since 1999, Schulz has been part of the SPD leadership under party chairmen Gerhard Schröder (1999–2004), Franz Müntefering (2004–05 and 2008–09), Matthias Platzeck (2005–06), Kurt Beck (2006–08) and Sigmar Gabriel (since 2009). Within the party, he serves as co-chairman of the Commission for International Politics, alongside Niels Annen. Schulz was a SPD delegate to the Federal Convention for the purpose of electing the President of Germany in 2004, 2009, 2010 and 2012. In the negotiations to form a coalition government following the 2013 federal elections, he was part of the wider leadership circle chaired by Angela Merkel, Horst Seehofer and Sigmar Gabriel. He also led the SPD delegation in the working group on European affairs; his co-chair of the CDU/CSU was fellow MEP Herbert Reul.
During his 2014 campaign for the Presidency of the European Commission, Schulz managed to establish himself as a regular presence in German media on issues unconnected to the European Parliament elections that year. By 2015, German newspapers speculated that Schulz was interested in running for the chancellorship of Germany in the 2017 federal elections. In May 2016, he told weekly newspaper Welt am Sonntag that he would not enter the race to succeed Angela Merkel. Schulz' November 2016 announcement that he would not seek a third term as president of the European Parliament and instead run for a seat on the German parliament in the 2017 elections reignited the chancellorship speculations. On 24 January 2017, Schulz was confirmed as the Social Democrats' candidate for chancellor.
The 2017 Federal election
On 24 January 2017, Schulz became the Social Democrats' candidate for chancellor in that year's Federal election. In March he was unanimously chosen as official head of the party. Since the announcement of his nomination, his party gained an average of ten percentage points in public opinion polls. With the SPD now tied or within the margin of error with the Union Parties of Chancellor Merkel, political observers regard it possible that Schulz could unseat Merkel in the federal election on September 24, 2017. Polls also showed Schulz leading Merkel if Germans could elect their chancellor directly.
Schulz is widely considered an ardent EU supporter. He has hailed European unification as being civilization's greatest achievement over the past century. In 2014, however, he argued it was also essential that responsibility was delegated away from Brussels and down to national, regional and local authorities, allowing the EU to focus on the big issues. As a result of Schulz's pro-Europeanism, both supporters and detractors have linked him with the slogan "MEGA" – "Make Europe Great Again" – as a parody of US President Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again".
Schulz is committed to strengthening Europe and the European institutions. In 2016, he presented a ten-point plan for a reform of the EU with Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel. It calls for a "streamlining" of European structures and the establishment of a strong European government under the control of the European Parliament.
Schulz has often emphasised that the European Union is the best way to banish the "demons of the twentieth century", such as racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism. However, the Jerusalem Post criticised the fact that his attitude to anti-Semitism was merely covered by words.
After the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in a membership referendum, Schulz warned in mid-2016: "If we break the instruments with which we banish the demons, we will set them free again." He is one of the 27 initiators of the Charter of Digital Fundamental Rights published in November 2016 Of the European Union.
In front of the European Council on 19 December 2013, Schulz took responsibility for the initiation of the Cox-Kwaśniewski mission to Ukraine. In the same speech, he noted that Europe was still militarily dependent on the USA, and that in many cases Europe would be quite incapable of carrying out a military operation without the support of the USA.
Schulz was quoted in a newspaper report of his speech as having said: "If we wish to defend our values and interests, if we wish to maintain the security of our citizens, then a majority of MEPs consider that we need a headquarters for civil and military missions in Brussels and deployable troops," The External Action Service of HRUFASP Catherine Ashton had prepared a proposal, which was supported by France, Spain, Italy, Poland and Germany who together have QMV majority, to create a European Air Force composed of surveillance drones, heavy transport airplanes, and air-to-air refuelling planes. The debate was joined with a view presented by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who maintained that "Nato will remain the bedrock of Euro-Atlantic security." Rasmussen's view prevailed on the Council at this time because QMV does not take effect in decisions of the European Council until 1 November 2014.
Schulz believes that dignified work is a value in itself. For that reason, he says, he is not a proponent of the concept of unconditional basic income. However, Schulz is much in favour of decent wage agreements, secure and lasting jobs, employee participation in decision-making and the examination of the social justification for claims and payments.
Relations with the Americas
In an effort to improve relations between Europe and Cuba, Schulz led a European Parliament delegation to Havana for talks with Carlos Lage Dávila on lifting EU sanction against the countries in 2008.
In 2016, Schulz stated that Donald Trump is a problem "for the whole world," and linked the Trump phenomenon to far-right populism in Europe. He called Trump an "irresponsible man" who "boasts about not having a clue."
Relations with Russia
In 2015, amid the Ukrainian crisis, Schulz suspended a committee made up of Russian and EU lawmakers that meets several times a year to improve ties. When Russia barred entry to two politicians from the EU who had planned to attend the funeral in 2015 of murdered opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, Schulz criticised the barring as "a high affront to EU–Russia relations and the work of democratic institutions."
Relations with Palestine and Israel
In 2014, Schulz delivered a speech to the Israeli Knesset, in which he criticised Israel for denying Palestinians a fair share of water resources in the occupied West Bank. The speech sparked a walk-out by several lawmakers from the far-right Jewish Home party, and drew a public rebuke from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
- Bonner Akademie für Forschung und Lehre praktischer Politik (BAPP), Member of the Board of Trustees
- Institute for European Politics, Member of the Board of Trustees
- Stiftung "Achtung!Kinderseele", Member of the Board of Trustees
On 2 July 2003, one day after Italy taking over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, Schulz criticized Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy of his domestic policy. Berlusconi replied:
Signor Schulz, so che in Italia c'è un produttore che sta montando un film sui campi di concentramento nazisti: la suggerirò per il ruolo di kapò. Lei è perfetto!
In English: Mister Schulz, I know of a film-producer in Italy who is making a film about Nazi concentration-camps. I will recommend you for the part of a Kapo [concentration-camp inmate appointed as supervisor]. You are perfect!
Berlusconi later claimed he was referring to the comedy-series Hogan's Heroes, where a slow-witted character named Sgt. Hans Georg Schultz, played by John Banner, starred. Even though Berlusconi insisted that he was just being ironic, his comparisons with the Nazis caused a brief diplomatic rift between the two.
Incident with Godfrey Bloom
On 24 November 2010 the British MEP Godfrey Bloom caused a row in the European Parliament when he interrupted a speech by Martin Schulz, heckling him with the Nazi propaganda slogan 'Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer' ('one people, one empire, one leader') and accusing him of being an 'undemocratic fascist'. Bloom later stated that he was referring to the fact that the indoctrination of the German people under the Nazi regime has long-lasting effects; "some Germans still find it difficult to accept diversity in Europe and differences of opinion". In the debate on the future of the Euro Stability Pact Schulz had criticised the role played by the United Kingdom, which was involved in the discussions despite not being a member of the eurozone, and said that some eurosceptics would take pleasure in the collapse of the European Union. Following the incident, the President of Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, excluded Bloom from the Chamber. The Dutch MEP Barry Madlener, from the right-wing populist Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV – Freedom Party), then protested against that decision, on the grounds that Schulz himself had recently described the PVV MEP Daniël van der Stoep as a fascist, but had not been excluded from the Chamber.
Schulz received criticism after having transformed the Twitter account that his staff had built up for his European Parliament presidency into his own personal account in order to use it as part of his candidature to the EU Commission.
During his time as President of the European Parliament, Schulz removed a paragraph critical of his stewardship in a key committee report set for debate on 2 April 2014, thereby attracting a lot of negative attention. As a consequence, a large majority of the European Parliament voted on 4 April 2015 to invite Schulz to resign so that he would be able to campaign for the European elections.
Lastly, Schulz was criticized about the tax-free daily allowance of €304 the President of the Parliament received, until 18 April 2014, which he received while he was campaigning to become President of the commission. This was paid for 365 days a year, in addition to his salary of 200 thousand euros per year. A member of parliament receives this daily allowance only for attending.
Schulz is married and has two children.
Honours and decorations
- Germany: Federal Cross of Merit (First Class) in 2006
- Austria: Großes goldenes Ehrenzeichen der Republik in 2008
- Russian Federation : Honorary Doctorate by the Kaliningrad State Technical University on 18 May 2009
- France: Officer of the French Légion d'honneur in 2010
- Romania: Collar of the Chamber of Deputies of Romania on 31 October 2012; Doctor Honoris Causa title by the National School of Political Science and Public Administration of Bucharest on 31 October 2012.
- Italy Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic on 8 November 2012
- Portugal: Key of Honor to the City of Lisbon on 20 June 2013
- Gold Medal of the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe, in 2014.
- Germany: International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen on 14 May 2015
- "Entry Schulz, Martin in Munzinger Online" (in German). Retrieved 24 November 2016.
- "German Socialist Martin Schulz Re-Elected as European Parliament President". Retrieved 1 July 2014.
- "Martin Schulz to be candidate for German chancellor".
- Markus Feldenkirchen and Horand Knaup (November 25, 2016), Schulz Heads to Berlin: The Man Who Could Shake Up German Politics Spiegel Online.
- Kirschbaum, Erik (February 8, 2017). "A plain-spoken German populist may have a shot at ousting Angela Merkel". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
- "Martin Schulz could present serious challenge to Angela Merkel in German election". Der Spiegel. 1 February 2017.
- "Martin Schulz MEP". Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- Wagstyl, Stefan (February 10, 2017). "Martin Schulz, the veteran MEP challenging for Merkel's crown". Financial Times. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
- Florian Gathmann (May 1, 2008), SPIEGEL ONLINE Interview with MEP Martin Schulz 'It's an Honor to Be Considered for EU Commissioner' Spiegel Online.
- "Support for Verhofstadt as Barroso's successor grows". Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- "Socialists split over name change, Barroso". Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- "Martin Schulz elected President of the European Parliament - News - European Parliament".
- Macdonald, Alastair; Blenkinsop, Philip (2016-11-24). "EU's Schulz steps down, fuelling German, EU reshuffles". Reuters. Retrieved 2016-11-24.
- "Martin Schulz – History of Parliamentary Service". Retrieved 12 February 2017.
- "Party of European Socialists".
- Laurens Cerulus (7 November 2013), Schulz unopposed as socialist frontrunner for Commission presidency EurActiv.
- Cécile Barbière (18 April 2014), Martin Schulz launches European campaign in Paris EurActiv.
- Stephen Brown, Holger Hansen and Michelle Martin (20 June 2014), German SPD ready to cede EU top job if they keep parliament post Reuters.
- Mark John and Elizabeth Pineau (21 June 2014), European left-wingers back Juncker for EU Commission Reuters.
- "Kommission Internationale Politik: Vorstand". SPD-Fraktion. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- Toby Vogel (14 April 2014), If Germany changes, Europe changes European Voice.
- Tara Palmeri (5 May 2015), Martin Schulz: President-for-life? Politico Europe.
- Andrea Bonanni, Jurek Kuczkiewicz, Christoph B. Schiltz and Andre Tauber (29 May 2016), "Die Europäische Union ist tief gespalten" Welt am Sonntag.
- "Bundestagswahl: Martin Schulz wird Kanzlerkandidat der SPD" – via Sueddeutsche.de.
- Matthew Dalton (1 July 2014), German Socialist Martin Schulz Re-Elected as European Parliament President Wall Street Journal.
- Luke Baker, Robin Emmott and John O'Donnell (20 February 2014), Germany's Schulz details plans for EU Commission presidency bid Reuters.
- "Finance Minister Schäuble slams Schulz fans for 'Make Europe Great Again' slogan". Deutsche Welle. 10 February 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
- Parteien: Gabriel: Brexit kann Chance für Europa sein. In: Die Zeit. 2. Juli 2016 (DPA-Meldung).
- "Schulz: Verbannt geglaubte Dämonen kehren zurück". EurActiv (in German). 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
- Gerstenfeld, Manfred (2014-12-30). "European Parliament: More words replace an anti-Semitism task force". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
- digitalcharta.eu: Liste der Initiatoren
- ""Address to the European Council by the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz" 19 Dec 2013".
- "David Cameron fights off EU army plan".
- SPIEGEL Interview with Martin Schulz February 08, 2017
- Ralf Beste (February 14, 2008), Brussels' Man in Havana: EU Seeks Deal with Cuba Spiegel Online.
- "'Trump is a problem for the whole world,' says top EU politician".
- European Parliament retaliates over Russia entry ban EurActiv, 3 June 2015.
- Christian Lowe and Alastair Macdonald (3 March 2015), Russia bars two EU politicians from Nemtsov funeral Reuters.
- Ahren, Raphael (13 February 2014). "Harsh reaction to Knesset speech surprises EU leader". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- Alistair Lyon (14 February 2014), Euro Parliament Chief Creates Waves in Israel New York Times.
- "La Repubblica/esteri: Il duello verbale Schulz-Berlusconi".
- "Uproar in the European Parliament Briton attacked SPD members with Nazi slogan". Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- "MEP put off debate after Nazi rule". Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- "EU parliament chief censors report criticising his actions".
- MEPs cry foul at Schulz’ stunt to avoid resignation EurActiv, April 2014.
- "The President's political activities", in European Parliament resolution of 16 April 2014 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision (1) on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2012, Section I – European Parliament (COM(2013)0570 – C7-0274/2013 – 2013/2196(DEC)), 2014-04-16.
- "Procedure File: 2013/2196(DEC) – 2012 discharge: EU general budget". Legislative Observatory. European Parliament.
- Üppiges Tagegeld stellt Schulz' Versprechen infrage, Die Welt, 12 May 2014.
- Parlamentspräsident Martin Schulz erhielt an 365 Tagen pro Jahr Tagegelder des EU-Parlaments, SWR, 29 April 2014.
- Die fragwürdigen Tagegelder von EU-Parlamentariern, Report Mainz, 2014-05-05.
- "Sein Bruder rettete ihn vor dem Alkohol". Retrieved 14 December 2012.
- "So überwand EU-Parlamentspräsident Schulz seine Alkoholsucht". Retrieved 14 December 2012.
- Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg,. "EUROPA: Unter Eierköppen - DER SPIEGEL 11/2013".
- Krupa, Matthias (27 February 2014). "Martin Schulz: Mister Europa?" – via Die Zeit.
- "Preşedintele Parlamentului European susţine o alocuţiune la Parlamentul României" (in Romanian). Gândul. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- "Ceremonia acordării titlului de doctor honoris causa" (in Romanian). SNPA. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- "Communication from the Quirinal Palace". The official website of the Presidency of the Italian Republic.
- "Open Day at EU Agencies". EMSA. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
- "President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz will receive the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen 2015". Foundation of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen. 13 December 2014. Archived from the original on 16 December 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
- "El Vicecanciller Carlos Foradori, recibió al Presidente del Parlamento Europeo, Martín Schulz". Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto de la República Argentina. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
- "President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz received HU Honorary Doctorate". BFHU. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Martin Schulz.|
- Official website
- Personal profile of Martin Schulz in the European Parliament's database of members
- Declaration (PDF) of financial interests (German)
|Party political offices|
Enrique Barón Crespo
|Leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
|Leader of the Social Democratic Party
|President of the European Parliament