Michael Roth (politician)

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Michael Roth
Pressefoto StM Michael Roth MdB 01.jpg
Michael Roth Minister of State
Minister of State for Europe
Assumed office
17 December 2013
MinisterFrank-Walter Steinmeier
Sigmar Gabriel
Heiko Maas
Preceded byMichael Georg Link
Member of the Bundestag
for Werra-Meißner – Hersfeld-Rotenburg
Assumed office
27 September 1998
Personal details
Born (1970-08-24) August 24, 1970 (age 48)
Heringen, Germany
Political partySocial Democratic Party

Michael Roth (born 24 August 1970 in Heringen) is a German politician and a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). Since 27 September 1998, he has been member of the German Bundestag. Since 17 December 2013, he has been Minister of State for Europe at the German Federal Foreign Office in the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Since January 2014, he has also been Commissioner for Franco-German Cooperation[1].

Personal life and academic career[edit]

Roth obtained his Abitur (higher education entrance qualification) at the Werratal secondary school in Heringen in 1990. After completing non-military national service, he began studying political science, public law, sociology, and German language and literature at the Johann Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main in 1991. He was awarded a scholarship from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and graduated with a degree in political science in 1997.

He worked as a tutor at the Center for North American Studies and in the Faculty of Social Sciences at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main until 1998 and as a lecturer at the Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science at the Freie Universität Berlin from 2000 to 2002.

Roth is married with Michael Kloeppner.[2]

Political career[edit]

Party posts, 1987 - present[edit]

Roth joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) as a pupil in 1987. In his party he served as Deputy Federal Chairperson of the Young Socialists (youth section of the SPD) from 1993 to 1995. He was a member of the executive committee of the North Hesse district branch of the SPD from 1996 to 2015, Chairman of the Hersfeld-Rotenburg subdistrict branch of the SPD from 2001 to 2011 and Secretary-General of the Hesse Land branch of the SPD from 2009 to 2014.

Since 2015 he has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Hesse Land branch of the SPD[3] and since 2017 member of the Executive Committee of the SPD[4].

Member of the German Bundestag, 1998 - present[edit]

Roth became a Member of the German Bundestag for the first time in 1998, entering as the directly elected representative of the Hersfeld constituency with 51.7 percent of the first vote. In 2002 he was re elected to the Bundestag with 54.9 percent of the first vote of the newly merged constituency of Werra-Meißner – Hersfeld-Rotenburg. In subsequent elections he received 51.7 percent (2005), 40.4 percent (2009), 43,1 (2013)[5] and 41,2 (2017)[6] of the first vote.

From the beginning of his parliamentary work, Roth served on the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union. In addition, he was a member of the German delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe between 2003 and 2005.

From 2010 to 2013 Roth served as spokesperson on European policy for the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag. From 2009 to 2014 and again since 2017 he has chaired the group of SPD parliamentarians from Hesse in the Bundestag; he also belongs to the Parliamentary Left, a left-wing movement within the group.[7] Between 2009 and 2013, he was also chairman of the German-Hungarian Parliamentary Friendship Group as well as a full member of the Parliamentary Friendship Group for Relations with the Baltic States.

Roth was elected as lead candidate for the Social Democrats in Hesse for the 2013 elections on 9 March 2013 at a SPD party conference in Hanau, where he gained 89 percent of the votes. In the 2013 federal elections, Roth won 43.1 percent of the first vote in the Werra-Meißner – Hersfeld-Rotenburg constituency. In the ensuing negotiations to form a coalition government he was a member of the joint CDU, CSU and SPD working group on foreign affairs, defence and development cooperation, led by Thomas de Maizière and Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Minister of State for Europe, 2013 - present[edit]

Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif meeting with Michael Roth in his office in Tehran

On 17 December 2013, Roth was appointed Minister of State for Europe at the German Federal Foreign Office, first in the third Merkel Cabinet. Since January 2014 he has also been Commissioner for Franco-German Cooperation.

As Minister of State for Europe, Roth is deputy to the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs. In this function Roth has served under three Federal Ministers for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier (2013-2017), Sigmar Gabriel (2017-2018) and Heiko Maas (since March 2018).

Besides EU, Eastern European and Russian affairs, his main responsibilities lie in foreign and security policy, disarmament and arms control, as well as bilateral relationships with the United States, Canada, the Middle East, the Maghreb and East Asia.

As chairman of the State Secretaries Committee for European Affairs, Roth participates in the Federal Government's Cabinet meetings. He also represents the Federal Government on the EU’s General Affairs Council.

Roth’s main focus is the reinforcement of basic values and the rule of law within the EU. In his speeches he also emphasises the importance of enhancing social cohesion within the EU in order to counter citizens’ loss of confidence in the Union.

As Germany’s official representative, Roth took part in the memorial on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Yerevan on 24 April 2015.[8]

In April 2017, Roth was elected chairman of the Party of European SocialistsGAC Ministers network, succeeding Harlem Désir.[9]

Political positions[edit]

On the sidelines of an informal U.N. General Assembly meeting on the rising threat of antisemitism in January 2015, Roth joined his French counterpart Harlem Désir in appealing for U.N. member states to work together on an international legal framework that would make social network providers share responsibility for the use of their platforms to spread messages promoting violence; the French call for a radical shift in the way governments treat social networking companies such as Facebook and Twitter came two weeks after the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris.[10]

In late 2014, Roth publicly announced that Germany would back political or economic “sanctions” over the erosion of democracy in Hungary under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, supporting instead “a political mechanism” in the European Union, short of suspending Hungary’s voting rights in the bloc or tying grants to the country to meeting democratic norms.[11]

Amid the Greek government-debt crisis, Roth visited Greece six times within his first year in office.[12] On the occasion of the first visit to the country by a German minister after Greeks elected the radical left-wing government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in early 2015, Roth publicly warned the new government of risking its isolation in the European Union by threatening to break ranks on the EU sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis and ditch its bailout deal.[13] He also urged Greece to end its prolonged spat with the European Central Bank, saying ECB President Mario Draghi is an ally in the country’s struggle for funding and that both Europe and the Greek government need to avoid letting the standoff drift to a point of a Greek exit by accident.[14] He has repeatedly pointed out that keeping Greece in the euro “is the focus of all of our efforts, though it’s up to the Greek government first and foremost to do its part.”[15]

Roth is a fervent supporter of an open European immigration policy, regularly attacking countries that reject a fair distribution of immigrants among EU Member States.

Functions and memberships[edit]

Non-profit organizations[edit]

Religious bodies[edit]


  1. ^ Amt, Auswärtiges. "Federal Foreign Office - The Commissioner for Franco-German Cooperation". Auswärtiges Amt DE. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  2. ^ HNA.de: Michael Roth heiratet seinen Lebensgefährten (German)
  3. ^ "Landesvorstand › SPD Landesverband Hessen" (in German). Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  4. ^ "SPD Executive Committee" (PDF).
  5. ^ "Bundestagswahl 2013 in Hessen". www.statistik-hessen.de. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  6. ^ Bundeswahlleiter, Der. "Ergebnisse Werra-Meißner – Hersfeld-Rotenburg - Der Bundeswahlleiter". www.bundeswahlleiter.de (in German). Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  7. ^ Members Parlamentarische Linke.
  8. ^ Putin und Hollande gedenken der "Genozid"-Opfer N24, April 24, 2015.
  9. ^ Progressive European ministers call for a Europe with strong social rights Party of European Socialists, press release of April 27, 2017.
  10. ^ Louis Charbonneau (January 22, 2015), Social networks must help stamp out promotion of violence: France Reuters.
  11. ^ Zoltan Simon (October 27, 2014), Germany Won't Back `Sanctions' Against Hungary Bloomberg Business.
  12. ^ Remembering the past and shaping the future together – Minister of State Roth visits Thessaloniki Federal Foreign Office, press release of October 30, 2014.
  13. ^ Birgit Jennen, Rainer Buergin and Arne Delfs (January 30, 2015), Germany Warns Greece Against Isolation as Tsipras Shunned Bloomberg News.
  14. ^ Patrick Donahue and Birgit Jennen (April 2, 2015), Germany Urges Greece to Win Over ECB in Quest for Funding Bloomberg News.
  15. ^ Jonathan Stearns, Birgit Jennen and Corina Ruhe (March 23, 2015), Merkel Points Tsipras Toward Deal With Greece’s Creditors Bloomberg News.
  16. ^ Friedenseinsätze, Zentrum für Internationale. "ZIF-Aufsichtsrat benannt: Staatsminister Michael Roth neuer Vorsitzender | Nachrichten aus dem ZIF | Über ZIF | Seite 2 | ZIF - Zentrum für Internationale Friedenseinsätze". www.zif-berlin.org (in German). Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  17. ^ Institut, dfi – Deutsch–Französisches. "dfi – Deutsch–Französisches Institut". www.dfi.de (in German). Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  18. ^ "Stiftungsrat - Deutsche Stiftung Friedensforschung". Deutsche Stiftung Friedensforschung (in German). Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  19. ^ "Versammlung der Kuratoren Archive - Institut für Europäische Politik IEP Institut für Europäische Politik IEP". iep-berlin.de (in German). Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  20. ^ "Stiftungsrat | Stiftung Flucht, Vertreibung, Versöhnung". www.sfvv.de (in German). Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  21. ^ www.menecum.de, Menecum | Frankfurt |. "Stiftung Adam von Trott | Imshausen e.V." www.stiftung-adam-von-trott.de (in German). Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  22. ^ Kurhessen-Waldeck, Medienhaus der Ev. von. "Evangelische Kirche von Kurhessen-Waldeck | Mitglieder". www.ekkw.de (in German). Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  23. ^ "Kammer für Öffentliche Verantwortung". www.ekd.de (in German). Retrieved 2018-07-12.

External links[edit]