6 April 1973 |
Eimsbüttel, Hamburg, West Germany
|Occupation||Politician, Member of the German Bundestag (MP)|
Niels Annen (born 6 April 1973) is a German politician and member of the SPD. Since his re-election in 2013 he has been serving as a Member of the German Bundestag and is the current Spokesman of Foreign Affairs of the SPD group in the Bundestag. After his first term in the Bundestag from 2005 to 2009 Annen was a Senior Transatlantic Resident at the German Marshall Fund in Washington between 2010 and 2011. From 2011 until 2013 he worked for the department for International Policy Analysis of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Berlin. Annen has served on the executive board of the SPD since 2003 after being chairman of the Young Socialists, the youth organization of the SPD, from 2001 to 2004.
In 2009 he Annen obtained a bachelor's degree in history from the Humboldt University of Berlin, with a thesis on the resettlement of Baltic Germans during World War 2. Subsequently, he obtained a master's degree in International Public Policy from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies Johns Hopkins University in the United StatesWashington, D.C. in 2011.
During his first term in the Bundestag from 2005 to 2009, Annen had been criticised as "an eternal student in the Bundestag", after quitting a history degree in which he had been enrolled for 14 years.
Besides his native language German, Annen speaks English and Spanish fluently.
Annen served as national chairman of the SPD's youth organization from 2001 to 2004. Annen was elected to the Bundestag, the German federal parliament, at the 2005 election, representing the district Hamburg Eimsbüttel. In parliament, he serves on the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
As a member of Committee on Foreign Affairs, Annen established himself as a left-wing SPD foreign policy expert, focusing largely on the German engagement in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Within the committee he has served on the Subcommittee for Arms Control and Non Proliferation as well as the Subcommittee for the United Nations.
Within the SPD parliamentary group, he was co-chairman of the Parliamentary Left, the largest political coalition within the SPD. Between 2005 and 2009, he also served as Deputy Chairman of the German-Spanish Parliamentary Friendship Group.
Under controversial circumstances Annen was deselected for the 2009 election, losing a primary election to Danial Ilkhanipour by 45 votes to 44. Ilkhanipour lost the seat at the 2009 election to the CDU candidate Rüdiger Kruse. In March 2010, Annen joined the German Marshall Fund as a Senior Fellow in Washington, D.C., for a six-month term. Between 2011 and 2013, he served as director of European policy analysis at the Berlin headquarters of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, whose aim is to promote democracy, political education, and promote students of outstanding intellectual abilities and personality 
Annen returned to the Bundestag at the 2013 election, regaining the Hamburg Eimsbüttel district from the CDU. He soon re-entered the leadership of the Parliamentary Left in 2014. He also serves as chairman of the Parliamentary Friendship Group for Relations with the States of South Asia, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Between 2014 and 2015, he represented his parliamentary group in a crossparty committee headed by former defense minister Volker Rühe to review the country’s parliamentary rules on military deployments.
On Afghanistan and Pakistan
Annen is an advocate of continued German commitment in Afghanistan and has visited the country on multiple occasions during both of his terms in the Bundestag. Amid discussions in the Social Democratic Party on whether to terminate Germany's mandate for German elite commando troops within the US-run Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) against Taliban fighters, Annen in 2007 said many SPD members were questioning Germany's continued role in the anti-terror battle in Afghanistan. He stated that "[m]any say [the SPD] is losing its way as a party oriented to finding peaceful solutions to international problems". Along with Green MP Jürgen Trittin, Annen claimed that the American counterinsurgency mission was hindering civilian reconstruction under the umbrella of the second mission, the International Security Assistance Force, because of what they called a heavy-handed approach by the U.S. military on the ground that was alienating the local population. In 2014, he voted in favor of continuing German participation in ISAF.
In April 2014, Annen accompanied Norbert Lammert as well as fellow members of the German Parliament Marieluise Beck and Hans-Peter Uhl on a visit to Pakistan, where they met with President Mamnoon Hussain, Chairman of the Senate Nayyar Hussain Bukhari and Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan.
In April 2015, Annen went on another trip to the region with the German-South-Asian Parliamentary Group. In Afghanistan, the group met with delegates of both the upper and lower houses of parliament and it met with President Mamnoon Hussain during its trip to Pakistan. A central point of discussion in both countries was the security in the region. In a speech on 23 April 2015, after his return from the visit, Annen stated that, amidst some negative developments, there were clear positive trends visible in Afghanistan especially regarding rising rates of school enrolment and the state of democratic elections.
Annen has frequently expressed dissatisfaction with the information provided by NATO headquarters. Following statements by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Philip M. Breedlove, on troop advances on the border between Russia and Ukraine in early 2015, Annen publicly complained that "NATO in the past has always announced a new Russian offensive just as, from our point of view, the time had come for cautious optimism." He added that "we parliamentarians were often confused by information regarding alleged troop movements that were inconsistent with the information we had."
In 2008, Annen called on the United States to remove all nuclear weapons stored in military bases in Germany after a U.S. Air Force report found that safety standards at most sites for nuclear weapons in Europe fall well short of Pentagon requirements.
In July 2015, Annen joined Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on a trip to Cuba; it was the first time a German foreign minister had visited the country since German reunification in 1990.
On military engagement on the African continent
Annen has in the past 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 Somalia – Operation Atalanta (2014) and EUTM Somalia (2015 and 2016) –, Darfur/Sudan (2013, 2014 and 2015), South Sudan (2013, 2014 and 2015), the Central African Republic (2014) and Mali – both MINUSMA (2014) and EUTM Mali (2015).
On the Ukraine crisis
Regarding the conflict in Ukraine Annen has advocated for continued dialogue with the Russian Federation in order to facilitate “good neighbourly relations.” However, he supported economic sanctions against Russia as well as its exclusion from the G7 saying that “Russia un-invited itself” with the internationally wrongful annexation of Crimea. Moreover, he supported the absence of Chancellor Angela Merkel from the festivities for the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Russia on the 9th of May 2015 stating that “the political conditions for a German participation in the festivities are currently not fulfilled.”
Annen also responded angrily to statements by U.S. Senator John McCain who alleged that Germany was pursuing appeasement policies akin to those of the 1930s. Furthermore, he stated that “nobody in Europe did as much to support peace in Europe as Steinmeier and Merkel” (the German Foreign Minister and Chancellor) and demanded a public apology from the Senator. Annen rejected American plans to supply arms to Ukrainian forces stating that it “would be a dangerous step towards the escalation of the Ukraine conflict.”
On the Middle East
Annen has made public statements about the transnational conflict against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. In an interview with Das Parlament on 15 September 2014, he underlined the relevance of the conflict for Germany, stating that the risk of terrorist attacks had risen as the result of German IS-fighters returning from the battlefield. Moreover, he supported the supply of German arms to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces claiming that he was well aware of the danger of future misuse of the weapons but saw no other way to help defend the city of Erbil from IS forces. Annen also made the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad partially responsible for the formation and strength of Islamic State and warned of legitimizing Assad as the lesser evil in the conflict.
- European Council on Foreign Relations, Member
- German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), Member of the Presidium
- German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Member of the Council
- German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Member of the Board of Trustees
- Herbert and Elsbeth Weichmann Foundation, Member of the Board of Trustees
- Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg, Member of the Board of Trustees
- Neils Annen, Der Spiegel, 8 February 2010
- Personalien, Der Spiegel, 5 September 2011, p11
- Expert Directory: Niels Annen German Marshall Fund.
- Studenten als Kandidaten: Alte Hasen unter jungen Wilden, Der Spiegel, 15 September 2005
- SPD düpiert Annen, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 17 May 2010
- Hugh Williamson (July 6, 2007), Afghanistan splits German parties Financial Times.
- "Über Uns". Parlamentarische Linke. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "Hamburg: Niels Annen verliert sein Direktmandat". Spiegel Online. 15 November 2008. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- Judy Dempsey (August 20, 2012), Merkel Enlists Kohl as an Unlikely Ally International Herald Tribune.
- "Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung – Für Soziale Demokratie!". Friedrich Ebert Foundation. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- Annen. "Niels". Niels Annen. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- Annen, Niels. "Niels Annen: Über Mich". Niels Annen Homepage.
- Jan Techau (June 17, 2014), Germany’s Budding Defense Debate Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
- "Kommission Internationale Politik: Vorstand". SPD-Fraktion. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- Judy Dempsey (May 23, 2007), Merkel party urges caution on Afghan mission International Herald Tribune.
- Lammert würdigt Demokratie in Pakistan Deutscher Bundestag, press release of May 2, 2014.
- "Delegationsreise der Deutsch-Südasiatischen Parlamentariergruppe". Deutscher Bundestag. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- Annen. "Eindrücke meiner Reise nach Afghanistan und Pakistan". Niels Annen Homepage. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- Annen, Niels. "100. Sitzung vom 23.04.2015 - Annen, Niels (SPD)". Deutscher Bundestag - Mediathek. Deutscher Bundestag. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- 'Shadow Foreign Policy': Somali Warlord Hires German Mercenaries to Provide Security Services Spiegel Online, May 25, 2010.
- Judy Dempsey (June 23, 2008), German parties press U.S. to withdraw nuclear arms International Herald Tribune.
- Foreign Minister Steinmeier's first visit to Cuba paves way for stronger ties Deutsche Welle, July 17, 2015.
- Ivo Oliveira (July 16, 2015), Germany’s Steinmeier visits Cuba Politico Europe.
- "Bürgerkrieg in der Ukraine: "Russland lässt seine Partner im Unklaren"". n-tv. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- "Macht keinen Sinn, Russland einzuladen". Deutschlandfunk. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- Schuler, Volker; Katharina, Pausch (11 March 2015). "Linke kritisiert "kleinkarierte Geschichtsvergessenheit"". Die Zeit Online. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- "John McCain wirft Merkel Appeasement-Politik vor". Die Zeit Online. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- "Koalition warnt vor US-Waffenlieferungen an Ukraine". Reuters. 2 February 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- "Niels Annen: Wir müssen Europa zusammenhalten". Deutscher Bundestag. 15 September 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- Annen, Niels. "45. Sitzung vom 02.07.2014 - Annen, Niels (SPD)". Deutscher Bundestag - Mediathek. Deutscher Bundestag. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- MdB Annen trifft Außenminister Judeh press release of April 12, 2014, German Embassy to Jordan, Amman.