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Robert Habeck

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Robert Habeck
Habeck in 2023
Vice Chancellor of Germany
Assumed office
8 December 2021
ChancellorOlaf Scholz
Preceded byOlaf Scholz
Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
Assumed office
8 December 2021
ChancellorOlaf Scholz
Preceded byPeter Altmaier
Leader of Alliance 90/The Greens
In office
27 January 2018 – 29 January 2022
Serving with Annalena Baerbock
Preceded byCem Özdemir
Succeeded byOmid Nouripour
Deputy Minister-President of Schleswig-Holstein
In office
12 June 2012 – 6 February 2018
Minister-PresidentTorsten Albig
Daniel Günther
Preceded byHeiner Garg
Succeeded byMonika Heinold
Minister for Energy Transition, Agriculture, the Environment, Nature and Digitization of Schleswig-Holstein
In office
12 June 2012 – 31 August 2018
Minister-PresidentTorsten Albig
Daniel Günther
Preceded byJuliane Rumpf
Succeeded byJan Philipp Albrecht
Leader of Alliance 90/The Greens in the Landtag of Schleswig-Holstein
In office
27 October 2009 – 12 June 2012
Preceded byKarl-Martin Hentschel
Succeeded byEka von Kalben
Parliamentary constituencies
Member of the Bundestag
for Flensburg – Schleswig
Assumed office
26 October 2021
Preceded byPetra Nicolaisen
Member of the Bundesrat
for Schleswig-Holstein
In office
12 June 2012 – 6 February 2018
Preceded byHeiner Garg
Succeeded byMonika Heinold
Member of the
Landtag of Schleswig-Holstein
In office
27 October 2009 – 12 June 2012
Preceded bymulti-member district
Succeeded byDetlef Matthiessen
ConstituencyAlliance 90/The Greens List
Personal details
Born (1969-09-02) 2 September 1969 (age 54)
Lübeck, West Germany
Political partyAlliance 90/The Greens
Andrea Paluch
(m. 1996)
Parent(s)Hermann Habeck, Hildegard (Granzow) Habeck
Alma materUniversity of Freiburg
Roskilde University
University of Hamburg (MA, Dr. phil.)
  • Politician
  • writer

Robert Habeck (German pronunciation: [ˈʁoːbɛʁt ˈhaːbɛk] ; born 2 September 1969) is a German Green politician and writer who has been serving as Vice Chancellor of Germany, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action in the cabinet of Chancellor Olaf Scholz and as a Member of the German Bundestag for Flensburg – Schleswig since 2021. From 2018 to 2022, he also served as co-leader of Alliance 90/The Greens, alongside Annalena Baerbock. For the 2021 German federal election, he was a member of the leading duo, alongside Baerbock, who ran for chancellor of Germany.

In 2009, Habeck was voted into the state parliament of Schleswig-Holstein as a deputy of The Greens and became group chairman. In both early elections in 2012 and at the federal elections in 2017 he ran as the top candidate of his own party. From 2012 to 2018 he held office as deputy minister-president and minister for energy revolution, agriculture, environment, and nature (since 2017 for digitisation as well) for the cabinet of Albig as well as for the cabinet of Günther. After he was elected federal chairman of his party in 2018, he retired from his function as minister.[1] At the 2021 federal elections, he achieved the direct mandate of his electoral district of Flensburg – Schleswig with 28.1 percent of first votes. Habeck is aligned with the political-realists of the Green Party.[2]

Early life, education and writing[edit]

Habeck passed his final secondary school examinations in 1989 at the Heinrich Heine School in Heikendorf in the Plön district. After completing his alternative civilian service in 1991 he began studying for a master's degree with a combination of philosophy, German and philology at the Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg im Breisgau. After the intermediate examination in 1992/93 he attended Roskilde University in Denmark. In 1996 Habeck received a master's degree from the University of Hamburg. From 1996 to 1998 he completed a doctorate at the University of Hamburg and was awarded a doctorate in philosophy in 2000.[3]

From 1999 Habeck and his wife Andrea Paluch worked as freelance writers. In addition to children's books and translations of English poetry, Habeck, with Paluch, published six novels, among others, Hauke Haien's Death (2001), The Day I Met My Dead Man (2005) and Under the Gully Lies the Sea (2007).[4] Habeck is fluent in Danish.[5]

Schleswig-Holstein Landtag[edit]

In 2009, Habeck was elected to the Schleswig-Holstein Landtag via the party list.[6] In November 2011, he was voted as the top candidate of his party for the 2012 Schleswig-Holstein election. From 2009 to 2012, Habeck was chairman of the Alliance 90/The Greens group in Schleswig-Holstein.

Habeck served as Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister for Energy, Agriculture, Environment and Rural Areas in the centre-left Albig Cabinet since 2012 and in the center-right Günther Cabinet between 2017 and 2018. Under his leadership – he was not a candidate for parliament – the Green Party became the third largest group in the Landtag after the 2017 state elections. As one of his state's representatives at the Bundesrat, he served on the Committee on Agricultural Policy and Consumer Protection; the Committee on the Environment, Nature Protection and Reactor Safety; the Committee on Economic Affairs; and the Committee on Transport. From 2014 and 2016, Habeck was one of the members of Germany's temporary National Commission on the Disposal of Radioactive Waste.[7]

Habeck served as a Green Party delegate to the Federal Convention for the purpose of electing the President of Germany in 2012.[8] He ran to become one of the two top candidates for the Greens for the 2017 German federal election, but lost by 75 votes to Cem Özdemir.[9]

Member of the Bundestag[edit]

On 27 January 2018, the Green Party's national convention in Hanover elected him as chairman, a position shared with Annalena Baerbock.[10]

In an interview in 2018 Habeck positioned himself against an ethnic notion of nation, which he clearly differentiated from the notion of constitutive people.[11] Additionally, he warned of uncritically acquiring the demands of identity politics.[12]

Habeck was elected to the Bundestag in the 2021 German federal election, defeating the CDU incumbent Petra Nicolaisen in the constituency of Flensburg – Schleswig.

Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs[edit]

After the Greens agreed to form a traffic light coalition government with the centre-left Social Democrats and liberal Free Democrats, new Chancellor Olaf Scholz named Habeck as Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and Vice Chancellor in December 2021, making him one of the most powerful politicians in Europe.[13]

In March 2023, Habeck participated in the first joint cabinet meeting of the governments of Germany and Japan in Tokyo, chaired by Chancellor Scholz and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.[14]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

In an interview with Der Tagesspiegel at the end of May 2020, Habeck argued that the COVID-19 pandemic was "maybe the first time" that health care was more important than the profit motive and economic growth. He added: "The moral is that we have to configure our economy in a way that it supports common interests and that it becomes crisis-proof as well." Part of this was environmental and climate change mitigation, saying: "The time of minor compromises is over. All parties can think much bigger." The money that had been made liquid for the crisis management must also be used to fight the economic crisis as well as the climate crisis. The past idea that a speed-limit on the Autobahn would restrict personal freedom seemed ridiculous after the decisions that had been made concerning the COVID crisis. He stated: "If one acts brave enough, one can broadly anchor the willingness of change. Ambitious politicians have received a second wind".[15]

On May 6, 2021, Habeck demanded the federal government waive patent rights for the COVID-19 vaccine.[16]

Energy policy[edit]

In April 2022, Habeck presented a package of measures to speed up Germany's expansion of renewable energy, as the need to reduce the country's heavy reliance on Russian fossil fuels added urgency to its green transition plans; the package envisaged green energy accounting for 80% of the power mix by 2030, up from about 40% in 2022 and a previous target of 65%.[17]

An opponent of nuclear energy, Habeck pushed against efforts at the EU level in 2022 to label nuclear power as a sustainable and green energy source.[18] However, amid the 2022 Russia–European Union gas dispute, he announced plans to keep two of Germany's three remaining nuclear power stations on standby, beyond a year-end deadline to ditch the fuel, to ensure enough electricity supply through the winter during a gas crunch.[19]

When energy-intensive German industry and German exporters were hit particularly hard by the 2021–present global energy crisis,[20][21][22] Habeck presented on 29 September 2022 a €200 billion plan to support industry and households.[23]

On 5 October 2022, Habeck accused the United States and other "friendly" gas supplier nations that they were profiting from the Ukraine war with "astronomical prices". He called for more solidarity by the US to assist energy-pressed allies in Europe.[24]

In July 2023, Habeck stated that the German transition to green energy will "put a burden on people" and there's "a major transformational period ahead of us until 2030".[25]

In November 2023, Habeck led efforts on backstopping Siemens Energy with guarantees worth 7.5 billion euros ($8.1 billion) as part of a deal with other stakeholders to help the energy company fulfil its order book; the guarantees were part of a package totaling 15 billion euros agreed with private banks and other stakeholders and also imposed a pause on dividends and higher level bonuses.[26]

After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Habeck's ministry vetoed extending the life of Germany's remaining nuclear plants, arguing that the costs involved outweighed the benefits. Critics said that nuclear energy was a way to reduce Germany's reliance on Russian gas.[27] Habeck cautioned, "If we do not obtain more gas next winter and if deliveries from Russia were to be cut then we would not have enough gas to heat all our houses and keep all our industry going".[28] On 20 March 2022, he met Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Habeck said Germany reached a long-term energy partnership with Qatar, one of the world's largest exporters of liquefied natural gas,[29] and added: "Although we might still need Russian gas this year, in the future it won't be so any more. And this is only the start".[30] Habeck said Germany plans to end imports of Russian natural gas by mid-2024.[31] According to Habeck, the planned end of Russian energy imports will permanently raise energy prices for German industry and consumers.[32] In June 2022, Habeck warned that Germany is facing a "more significant" energy crisis than during the 1973 oil crisis.[33]

Foreign investments[edit]

Under Habeck's leadership, the ministry stopped Beijing-based Aeonmed Group in April 2022 from purchasing German medical device manufacturer Heyer Medical, based on a government assessment that there were dangers to public safety.[34] In November 2022, he formally blocked Silex, a Swedish subsidiary of China's Sai Microelectronics, from buying a Elmos Semiconductor plant for €85 million, saying the country had to protect key industries from potential security threats.[35]

Arms exports[edit]

In September 2022, Habeck confirmed that Germany approved new arms export deals to Saudi Arabia, despite the ban imposed as a result of the Saudi Arabian–led intervention in Yemen.[36] The biggest importers of German weapons were South Korea, Algeria and Egypt.[36]

Domestic policies[edit]

Habeck repeatedly declared himself in favor of evacuating refugees out of the camps on the Greek islands.[37][38]

In November 2020, Habeck presented a 11-points-action-plan against potential Islamic "Gefährder" – individuals deemed a security risk due to extremist views without necessarily being accused of a crime – which he worked out with Konstantin von Notz and Irene Mihalic, politicians for domestic policy. One topic of this paper is to recruit more staff for the local authorities to make closer surveillance and eventually a more consequent enforcement of prevailing arrest warrants possible. Another aspect of these demands was the prohibition of relevant Salafist associations.[39]

2023 Gaza war and protests in Germany[edit]

On 2 November 2023, Habeck posted a video on X/Twitter about the protests in Germany in relation to the 2023 Israel–Hamas war.[40] He declared that the burning of the flag of Israel and praise for Hamas is a felony in Germany and stated: "Wer Deutscher ist, wird sich dafür vor Gericht verantworten müssen, wer kein Deutscher ist, riskiert außerdem seinen Aufenthaltsstatus. Wer noch keinen Aufenthaltstitel hat, liefert einen Grund, abgeschoben zu werden." (Germans will have to answer for this in court, while non-Germans also risk losing their residence status. Anyone who does not yet have a residence permit provides a reason to be deported.)[41] His video received wide recognition in Germany and was viewed more than 42 million times in the first two weeks.[42]

On 11 January 2024, while visiting Sderot near the Gaza strip, Habeck called the lawsuit South Africa v. Israel (Genocide Convention) to be one of the biggest absurdities ("eine der größten Absurditäten") one could come up with. The vice-chancellor of Germany declared: „Aber Völkermord ist etwas anderes, es ist das gezielte Auslöschenwollen von Ethnien oder religiösen Gemeinschaften, das gezielte Auslöschen.“ (But genocide is something else, it is the deliberate will to wipe out ethnic groups or religious communities, the deliberate extermination.)[43]

In May 2024, however, he argued that Israel's actions, especially the Rafah offensive, are "incompatible with international law".[44]

Increased defense spending[edit]

In March 2024 Habeck said: "We cannot rely on the Americans to always foot the bill for everything or to provide the necessary materials.. That means that ramping up military production, the defense and armaments industries, and scenarios including for national defense — these all need to be reactivated again."[45]

Other activities[edit]

  • KfW, Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Supervisory Directors (since 2021)[46]
  • RAG-Stiftung, Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Trustees (since 2021)[47]

Personal life[edit]

Habeck is married with four children.[48] He is a vegetarian.[49] His brother-in-law is fellow politician Stefan Birkner.[50]


  1. ^ Grüne ändern für Robert Habeck ihre Satzung. In: spiegel.de. 26 January 2018, Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  2. ^ Baerbock und Habeck: Umbruch bei den Grünen mit Realo-Doppelspitze. In: Zeit Online. 27 January 2018, Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  3. ^ Robert Habeck: Die Natur der Literatur: zur gattungstheoretischen Begründung literarischer Ästhetizität, Dissertation Universität Hamburg 2000, Königshausen und Neumann, Würzburg 2001, ISBN 3-8260-2066-9
  4. ^ "Robert Habeck: Wer wagt, beginnt".
  5. ^ Merlin Christophersen und Anna-Lise Bjerager (15 September 2018). "Ich bin nicht nur da zuhause, wo meine Muttersprache gesprochen wird". Der Nordschleswiger. Bund Deutscher Nordschleswiger. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Landtagswahl in Schleswig-Holstein 2009 – Vorläufige Ergebnisse". Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2009.
  7. ^ "Abschlussbericht der Kommission Lagerung hoch radioaktiver Abfallstoffe" (PDF).
  8. ^ "Ordentliche Mitglieder der 15. Bundesversammlung" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Katrin Göring-Eckardt und Cem Özdemir gewinnen die Urwahl- BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN Bundespartei" [The Green Party members have chosen Katrin Göring-Eckardt and Cem Özdemir as frontrunners for the German federal election]. Alliance 90/The Greens (in German). Berlin, Germany. Archived from the original on 16 February 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  10. ^ "Grüne wählen Robert Habeck und Annalena Baerbock" (in German). Spiegel Online. 27 January 2018. Retrieved 23 February 2018.[dead link]
  11. ^ Es gibt kein Volk": Habeck wehrt sich gegen Angriffe. dpa–Newskanal. In: sueddeutsche.de, 8 May 2018.
  12. ^ Habeck: Identitätspolitische Forderungen nicht kritiklos übernehmen. In: report-k.de. 13 January 2021, Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  13. ^ "Robert Habeck: from translating English verse to German high office". The Guardian. London, United Kingdom. 6 December 2021. Retrieved 8 December 2021.
  14. ^ Regierungskonsultationen: Scholz und Minister in Japan Tagesschau, 18 March 2023.
  15. ^ „Die Zeit der kleinen Kompromisse ist vorbei." Grünen-Chef Robert Habeck über Konjunkturpaket, Kanzlerin und Kurzstreckenflüge. In: Der Tagesspiegel, 31 May 2020, p. 3. (changed title of online edition; Retrieved 31 May 2020.)
  16. ^ jos: Grünenchef Habeck fordert Patent-Aussetzung für Coronaimpfstoffe. In: Spiegel. 6 May 2021, Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  17. ^ Christian Kraemer and Joseph Nasr (6 April 2022), Germany unveils plans to accelerate green energy expansion Reuters.
  18. ^ "Germany's Habeck denounces plan to label nuclear energy 'green' in Brussels | DW | 25.01.2022". DW.COM. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  19. ^ Vera Eckert and Sarah Marsh (September 22, 2021), Germany keeps two nuclear reactors on standby to weather gas crisis Reuters.
  20. ^ "German economy minister under fire as German companies sound alarm on energy prices". Reuters. 7 September 2022.
  21. ^ "How Bad Will the German Recession Be?". Der Spiegel. 14 September 2022.
  22. ^ "A Grave Threat to Industry in Germany". Der Spiegel. 21 September 2022.
  23. ^ "Draghi criticises Germany's €200-billion energy rescue shield". Euractiv. 30 September 2022.
  24. ^ "German minister criticizes U.S. over 'astronomical' natural gas prices" cnbc.com. 5 October 2022.
  25. ^ "Germany faces 5 tough years, economy minister warns". www.politico.eu. 27 July 2023. Retrieved 6 January 2024.
  26. ^ Christian Kraemer and Alexander Hübner (15 November 2023), German government supports Siemens Energy with $8 bln guarantees Reuters.
  27. ^ "Germany vetoes nuclear power extension, aims for LNG terminal in 2024". Reuters. 8 March 2022. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  28. ^ "Reliant on Russian gas, Germany concerned over winter fuel supplies". France 24. 20 March 2022.
  29. ^ "Germany goes on a mission to secure supplies of Qatari gas". Euractiv. 21 March 2022.
  30. ^ "Germany Signs Energy Deal With Qatar As It Seeks To reduce Reliance On Russian Supplies". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 20 March 2022.
  31. ^ "Germany seeks to wean itself off Russian energy imports". Deutsche Welle. 25 March 2022.
  32. ^ "Germany's Era of Cheap Energy Is Over, Economy Minister Says". The Wall Street Journal. 2 May 2022.
  33. ^ "German economy minister reveals extent of gas crisis". Hi Hindia. 25 June 2022.
  34. ^ Miranda Murray (27 April 2022), Berlin stops Chinese firm from buying German medical device maker -Handelsblatt Reuters.
  35. ^ Louis Westendarp (9 November 2022), Germany vetos Chinese chip plant takeover Politico Europe.
  36. ^ a b "News German government approves arms exports to Saudi Arabia: reports". Deutsche Welle. 29 September 2022.
  37. ^ Robert Habeck möchte Migranten aus Griechenland holen. In: tagesspiegel.de. 21 December 2019, Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  38. ^ Grünenchef Habeck fordert Evakuierung griechischer Camps. In: spiegel.de. 29 March 2020, Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  39. ^ Null-Toleranz-Strategie gegen islamistische Gefährder – 11-Punkte-Plan gegen islamistischen Terrorismus. In: robert-habeck.de, Retrieved am 23 March 2021.
  40. ^ "German Vice-Chancellor speaks out on antisemitic incidents". www.dw.com. 2 November 2023. Retrieved 6 January 2024.
  41. ^ "Hamas-Angriff auf Israel: Viel Lob für Habeck-Video". taz.de. 2 November 2023. Retrieved 6 January 2024. Der Vizekanzler erklärt in einem Video Israels Sicherheit als deutsche „Staatsräson" und verurteilt Antisemitismus – von links, rechts, von Muslimen.
  42. ^ "Virales Video: Habecks Appell gegen Antisemitismus mehr als 42 Millionen Mal aufgerufen". www.spiegel.de. 14 November 2023. Retrieved 6 January 2024.
  43. ^ "Habeck zu Vorwürfen gegen Israel: „Völkermord ist etwas anderes"". www.rnd.de. 11 January 2024. Retrieved 14 January 2024.
  44. ^ "Israel's actions are 'incompatible with international law,' says Germany's Habeck". POLITICO. 25 May 2024. Retrieved 25 May 2024.
  45. ^ "Tailwind for the German arms industry? – DW – 03/31/2024". dw.com. Retrieved 25 May 2024.
  46. ^ Board of Supervisory Directors and its Committees KfW.
  47. ^ Board of Trustees RAG-Stiftung.
  48. ^ "Dr Robert Habeck".
  49. ^ "Mutprobe auf dem Schlachthof: Grünen-Chef Habeck erklärt, wie er Vegetarier wurde". 28 April 2019.
  50. ^ Teresa Havlicek (16 August 2012), FDP-Spitzenkandidat in Niedersachsen: Der leise Liberale Die Tageszeitung.

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