Angela Merkel


Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel
Chancellor of Germany
Incumbent
Assumed office
22 November 2005
President Horst Köhler
Christian Wulff
Deputy Franz Müntefering
Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Guido Westerwelle
Philipp Rösler
Preceded by Gerhard Schröder
Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
In office
17 November 1994 – 26 October 1998
Chancellor Helmut Kohl
Preceded by Klaus Töpfer
Succeeded by Jürgen Trittin
Minister for Women and Youth
In office
18 January 1991 – 17 November 1994
Chancellor Helmut Kohl
Preceded by Ursula Lehr
Succeeded by Claudia Nolte
Member of the Bundestag
Incumbent
Assumed office
2 December 1990
Preceded by Constituency established
Constituency Stralsund-Nordvorpommern-
Rügen
Personal details
Born 17 July 1954 (1954-07-17) (age 57)
Hamburg, West Germany
(now Germany)
Political party Christian Democratic Union (1990–present)
Other political
affiliations
Democratic Awakening (1989–1990)
Spouse(s) Ulrich Merkel (1977–1982)
Joachim Sauer (1998–present)
Alma mater University of Leipzig
Profession Physical chemist
Religion Protestantism
Signature

Angela Dorothea Merkel (German: [aŋˈɡeːla doʁoˈteːa ˈmɛʁkl̩] ( listen);[1] née Kasner; born 17 July 1954) is the current Chancellor of Germany (since 22 November 2005). Merkel, elected to the Bundestag (German Parliament) from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, has been the chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) since 2000, and chairwoman of the CDU-CSU (Christian Social Union) parliamentary coalition from 2002 to 2005.

From 2005 to 2009 she led a grand coalition with the Christian Social Union (CSU), its Bavarian sister party, and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), formed after the 2005 federal election on 22 November 2005. In the elections of 27 September 2009, her party, the CDU, obtained the largest share of the votes, and formed a coalition government with the CSU and the Free Democratic Party (FDP). Her government was sworn in on 28 October 2009.[2]

In 2007, Merkel was also President of the European Council and chaired the G8. She played a central role in the negotiation of the Treaty of Lisbon and the Berlin Declaration. In domestic policy, health care reform and problems concerning future energy development have thus far been major issues of her tenure.

Merkel is the first female Chancellor of Germany. In 2007, she became the second woman to chair the G8, after Margaret Thatcher. In November 2011 she became the longest-serving leader of a G8 country.

Contents

Early life

Merkel was born Angela Dorothea Kasner in Hamburg, West Germany, the daughter of Horst Kasner (6 August 1926 in Berlin-Pankow – 2 September 2011[3]), a Lutheran pastor, and his wife, Herlind (born 8 July 1928 in Danzig/Gdańsk, as Herlind Jentzsch), a teacher of English and Latin. Her mother was once a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany.[4] Her grandparents on her mother's side, one of them being Masurian, lived in Elbing/Elbląg in East Prussia. Merkel stated that she is one quarter Polish in an interview with Der Spiegel in 2000.[5] She has a brother, Marcus (born 7 July 1957), and a sister, Irene (born 19 August 1964).

Merkel's father studied theology in Heidelberg and, afterwards, in Hamburg. In 1954 her father received a pastorate at the church in Quitzow (near Perleberg in Brandenburg), which then was in Communist East Germany, and the family moved to Templin. Thus Merkel grew up in the countryside 80 km (50 mi) north of Berlin. Gerd Langguth, a former senior member of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, states in his book[6] that the family's ability to travel freely from East to West Germany during the following years, as well as their possession of two automobiles, leads to the conclusion that Merkel's father had a "sympathetic" relationship with the communist regime, since such freedom and perquisites for a Christian pastor and his family would have been otherwise impossible in East Germany.

Like most pupils, Merkel was a member of the official, Socialist-led youth movement Free German Youth (FDJ). However, she did not take part in the secular coming of age ceremony Jugendweihe, which was common in East Germany, and was confirmed instead. Later, at the Academy of Sciences, she became a member of the FDJ district board and secretary for "Agitprop" (Agitation and Propaganda). Merkel herself claimed that she was secretary for culture. When Merkel's onetime FDJ district chairman contradicted her, she insisted that: "According to my memory, I was secretary for culture. But what do I know? I believe I won't know anything when I'm 80."[7] Merkel's progress in the compulsory Marxism-Leninism course was graded only genügend (sufficient, passing grade) in 1983 and 1986.[8]

Merkel was educated in Templin and at the University of Leipzig, where she studied physics from 1973 to 1978. While a student, she participated in the reconstruction of the ruin of the Moritzbastei, a project students initiated to create their own club and recreation facility on campus. Such an initiative was unprecedented in the GDR of that period, and initially resisted by the University of Leipzig. However, with backing of the local leadership of the SED party, the project was allowed to proceed.[9] Merkel worked and studied at the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences in Berlin-Adlershof from 1978 to 1990. She learned to speak Russian fluently, and earned a statewide prize for her proficiency.[citation needed] After being awarded a doctorate (Dr. rer. nat.) for her thesis on quantum chemistry,[10] she worked as a researcher and published several papers.

In 1989, Merkel got involved in the growing democracy movement after the fall of the Berlin Wall, joining the new party Democratic Awakening. Following the first (and only) democratic election of the East German state, she became the deputy spokesperson of the new pre-unification caretaker government under Lothar de Maizière.[11]

Member of Bundestag and cabinet minister

At the first post-reunification general election in December 1990, she was elected to the Bundestag from the constituency Stralsund – Nordvorpommern – Rügen, which is coextensive with the district of Vorpommern-Rügen. This has remained her electoral district until today. Her party merged with the west German CDU[12] and she became Minister for Women and Youth in Helmut Kohl's 3rd cabinet. In 1994, she was made Minister for the Environment and Nuclear Safety, which gave her greater political visibility and a platform on which to build her political career. As one of Kohl's protégées and his youngest cabinet minister, she was referred to by Kohl as "mein Mädchen" ("my girl").[13]

Leader of the opposition

Merkel (right) as deputy government spokesperson together with Lothar de Maizière, August 1990

When the Kohl government was defeated in the 1998 general election, Merkel was named Secretary-General of the CDU. In this position, Merkel oversaw a string of Christian Democrat election victories in six out of seven state elections in 1999 alone, breaking the SPD-Green coalition's hold on the Bundesrat, the legislative body representing the states. Following a party financing scandal, which compromised many leading figures of the CDU (most notably Kohl himself, who refused to reveal the donor of DM 2,000,000 claiming he had given his word of honour and the then party chairman Wolfgang Schäuble, Kohl's hand-picked successor, who wasn't cooperative either), Merkel criticized her former mentor, Kohl, and advocated a fresh start for the party without him. She was elected to replace Schäuble, becoming the first female chair of her party, on 10 April 2000. Her election surprised many observers, as her personality offered a contrast to the party she had been chosen to lead; Merkel is a Protestant, originating from predominantly Protestant northern Germany, while the CDU is a male-dominated, socially conservative party with strongholds in western and southern Germany, and the Bavarian sister party, the CSU, has deep Catholic roots.

Following Merkel's election as CDU leader, she enjoyed considerable popularity among the German population and was favoured by many Germans to become Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's challenger in the 2002 election. However, she did not receive enough support in her own party and particularly its sister party (the Bavarian Christian Social Union, or CSU), and was subsequently out-manoeuvred politically by CSU leader Edmund Stoiber, to whom she eventually ceded the privilege of challenging Schröder; however, he squandered a large lead in the opinion polls to lose the election by a razor-thin margin. After Stoiber's defeat in 2002, in addition to her role as CDU chairwoman, Merkel became leader of the conservative opposition in the lower house of the German parliament, the Bundestag. Her rival, Friedrich Merz, who had held the post of parliamentary leader prior to the 2002 election, was eased out to make way for Merkel.[citation needed]

Merkel supported a substantial reform agenda concerning Germany's economic and social system and was considered to be more pro-market than her own party (the CDU); she advocated changes to German labour law, specifically removing barriers to laying off employees and increasing the allowed number of work hours in a week, arguing that existing laws made the country less competitive because companies cannot easily control labour costs at times when business is slow.[14]

Merkel argued for Germany's nuclear power to be phased out less quickly than the Schröder administration had planned.[15]

Merkel advocated a strong transatlantic partnership and German-American friendship. In the spring of 2003, defying strong public opposition, Merkel came out in favour of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, describing it as "unavoidable" and accusing Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of anti-Americanism. She criticised the government's support for the accession of Turkey to the European Union and favoured a "privileged partnership" instead. In doing so, she reflected public opinion that grew more hostile toward Turkish membership of the European Union.[16]

Rise to power

On 30 May 2005, Merkel won the CDU/CSU nomination as challenger to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of the SPD in the 2005 national elections. Her party began the campaign with a 21 point lead over the SPD in national opinion polls, although her personal popularity lagged behind that of the incumbent. However, the CDU/CSU campaign suffered[citation needed] when Merkel, having made economic competence central to the CDU's platform, confused gross and net income twice during a televised debate. She regained some momentum after she announced that she would appoint Paul Kirchhof, a former judge at the German Constitutional Court and leading fiscal policy expert, as Minister of Finance.[citation needed]

Merkel and the CDU lost ground after Kirchhof proposed the introduction of a flat tax in Germany, again undermining the party's broad appeal on economic affairs and convincing many voters that the CDU's platform of deregulation was designed to benefit only the rich. This was compounded by Merkel proposing to increase VAT to reduce Germany's deficit and fill the gap in revenue from a flat tax. The SPD were able to increase their support simply by pledging not to introduce flat taxes or increase VAT. Although Merkel's standing recovered after she distanced herself from Kirchhof's proposals, she remained considerably less popular than Schröder, and the CDU's lead was down to 9% on the eve of the election.

On 18 September 2005, Merkel's CDU/CSU and Schröder's SPD went head-to-head in the national elections, with the CDU/CSU winning 35.3% (CDU 27.8%/CSU 7.5%) of the second votes to the SPD's 34.2%. Neither the SPD-Green coalition nor the CDU/CSU and its preferred coalition partners, the Free Democratic Party, held enough seats to form a majority in the Bundestag, and both Schröder and Merkel claimed victory. A grand coalition between the CDU/CSU and SPD faced the challenge that both parties demanded the chancellorship. However, after three weeks of negotiations, the two parties reached a deal whereby Merkel would become Chancellor and the SPD would hold 8 of the 16 seats in the cabinet.[17][18] The coalition deal was approved by both parties at party conferences on 14 November 2005.[19] Merkel was elected Chancellor by the majority of delegates (397 to 217) in the newly assembled Bundestag on 22 November 2005, but 51 members of the governing coalition voted against her.[20]

President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama went to visit German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband, professor Joachim Sauer, to Rathaus in Baden-Baden, Germany.

Reports had indicated that the grand coalition would pursue a mix of policies, some of which differ from Merkel's political platform as leader of the opposition and candidate for Chancellor. The coalition's intent was to cut public spending whilst increasing VAT (from 16 to 19%), social insurance contributions and the top rate of income tax.[21]

Merkel had stated that the main aim of her government would be to reduce unemployment, and that it is this issue on which her government will be judged.[22]

Chancellor of Germany

On 22 November 2005, Merkel assumed the office of Chancellor of Germany following a stalemate election that resulted in a grand coalition with the SPD. She was re-elected in 2009 with a larger majority and was able to form a governing coalition with the FDP.

Foreign policy

Merkel in conversation with Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko
(7 February 2009)

On 25 September 2007, Chancellor Angela Merkel met the Dalai Lama for "private and informal talks" in Berlin in the Chancellery amid protest from China. China afterwards cancelled separate talks with German officials, including talks with Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries.[23]

Der Spiegel reported that tensions between Chancellor Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama[24] were eased during a meeting between the two leaders in June 2009. Commenting on a White House Press Conference held after the meeting, Spiegel stated, "Of course the rather more reserved chancellor couldn't really keep up with [Obama's]...charm offensive," but to reciprocate for Obama's "good natured" diplomacy, "she gave it a go...by mentioning the experiences of Obama's sister in Heidelberg, making it clear that she had read his autobiography".[25]

Russia

In 2006 Merkel expressed concern for overreliance on Russian energy, but she received little support from others in Berlin.[26]

Iran

According to the news agency Mehr (as reported in the Mail & Guardian Online and Deutsche Welle, quoting AFP), in August 2006, Merkel received a letter from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran.[27][28] According to the reports, Merkel said that the letter contained "unacceptable" criticism of Israel and "put in question" the Jewish state's right to exist, and that therefore she would not formally respond to the letter.

Israel

On 16 March 2008, Merkel arrived in Israel to mark the 60th anniversary of the Jewish state. She was greeted at the airport by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, an honor guard and many of the country's political and religious leaders, including most of the Israeli Cabinet.[29] Until then, US President George W. Bush had been the only world leader Olmert had bestowed with the honor of greeting at the airport.[30][31] Merkel spoke before Israel's parliament, the only foreigner who was not a head of state to have done so,[32] although this provoked rumbles of opposition from Israeli MPs on the far right.[33] At the time, Merkel was also both the President of the European Council and the chair of the G8, thus arguably the world's most influential person[citation needed].

Liquidity crisis

Following major falls in worldwide stock markets in September 2008, the German government stepped in to assist the mortgage company Hypo Real Estate with a bailout which was agreed on October 6, with German banks to contribute €30 billion and the Bundesbank €20 billion to a credit line.[34]

On 4 October 2008, a Saturday, following the Irish Government's decision to guarantee all deposits in private savings accounts, a move she strongly criticized,[35] Merkel said there were no plans for the German Government to do the same. The following day, Merkel stated that the government would guarantee private savings account deposits, after all.[36] However, two days later, on 6 October 2008, it emerged that the pledge was simply a political move that would not be backed by legislation.[37] Other European governments eventually either raised the limits or promised to guarantee savings in full.[37]

India

In 2011,[38] India became the first Asian country to hold a joint cabinet meeting with Germany when Merkel visited.[38]

Failure of multiculturalism

In October 2010 Merkel told a meeting of younger members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party at Potsdam that attempts to build a multicultural society in Germany had "utterly failed",[39] stating: "The concept that we are now living side by side and are happy about it does not work"[40] and that "we feel attached to the Christian concept of mankind, that is what defines us. Anyone who doesn't accept that is in the wrong place here."[41] She continued to say that immigrants should integrate and adopt Germany's culture and values. This has added to a growing debate within Germany[42] on the levels of immigration, its effect on Germany and the degree to which Muslim immigrants have integrated into German society.

Approval

Midway through her second term, Merkel's approval plummeted in the country, resulting in heavy losses in state elections for her party.[43] A poll in August 2011 found her coalition with only 36% support compared to a rival coalition which had 51%.[44]

Cabinets

The first cabinet of Angela Merkel was sworn in at 16:00 CET, on 22 November 2005.

On 31 October 2005, after the defeat of his favoured candidate for the position of Secretary General of the SPD, Franz Müntefering indicated that he would resign as Chairman of the party in November, which he did. Ostensibly responding to this, Edmund Stoiber (CSU), who was originally nominated for the Economics and Technology post, announced his withdrawal on 1 November 2005. While this was initially seen as a blow to Merkel's attempt at forming a viable coalition and cabinet, the manner in which Stoiber withdrew earned him much ridicule and severely undermined his position as a Merkel rival. Separate conferences of the CDU, CSU, and SPD approved the proposed Cabinet on 14 November 2005

The second cabinet of Angela Merkel was sworn in on 28 October 2009.[45]

Personal life

In 1977, Angela Kasner married physics student Ulrich Merkel. The marriage ended in divorce in 1982.[46] Her second and current husband is quantum chemist and professor Joachim Sauer, who has largely remained out of the media spotlight. They first met in 1981,[47] became partners later and married privately on 30 December 1998.[48] She has no children, but Sauer has two adult sons from a previous marriage.[49]

Honours

In 2006, Angela Merkel was awarded the Vision for Europe Award for her contribution toward greater European integration. In 2007, Merkel was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.[50][51] In March 2006, the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers gave the German Chancellor the recognition of Dama di Gran Croce Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana.

She received the Karlspreis (Charlemagne Prize) for 2008 for distinguished services to European unity.[52][53]

In January 2008, Merkel was awarded Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.[54] She was also awarded the honorary doctorate from Leipzig University in June 2008,[55] University of Technology in Wrocław (Poland) in September 2008[56] and Babeş-Bolyai University from Cluj-Napoca, Romania on 12 October 2010 for her historical contribution to the European unification and for her global role in renewing international cooperation.[57][58][59] In March 2008 she received the B’nai B’rith Europe Award of Merit.[60]

From 2006 to 2009, Forbes Magazine has named her the most powerful woman in the world.[61]

New Statesman named Angela Merkel in "The World's 50 Most Influential Figures" 2010.[62]

On June 16, 2010, the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C. awarded Chancellor Merkel its Global Leadership Award (AICGS) in recognition of her outstanding dedication to strengthening German-American relations.[63]

On September 21, 2010, the Leo Baeck Institute, a research institution in New York City devoted to the history of German-speaking Jewry, awarded Angela Merkel the Leo Baeck Medal. The medal was presented by former US Secretary of the Treasury and current Director of the Jewish Museum Berlin, W. Michael Blumenthal, who cited Merkel's support of Jewish cultural life and the integration of minorities in Germany.[64]

On 15 February 2011, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from U.S. President Barack Obama.[65] The medal is presented to people who have made an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, or cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.[66]

On 31 May 2011, she received the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for the year 2009 from the Indian government. She received the award for International understanding.[67]

Comparisons

As a female politician from a centre right party, and a scientist, Merkel has been compared by many in the English-language press to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Some have referred to her as "Iron Lady", "Iron Girl", and even "The Iron Frau" (all alluding to Thatcher, whose nickname was "The Iron Lady"—Thatcher also has a science degree: an Oxford University degree in chemistry). Political commentators have debated the precise extent to which their agendas are similar.[68] Later in her tenure, Merkel acquired the nickname "Mutti" (a familiar form of 'mother'), said by Der Spiegel to refer to an idealised mother figure from the 1950s and 1960s.[69]

In addition to being the first female German chancellor and the youngest German chancellor since the Second World War, Merkel is also the first born after World War II, and the first with a background in natural sciences. She studied physics; her predecessors studied law, business or history or were military officers, among others.

Merkel topped Forbes magazine's list of "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women" in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011.[61]

Controversy

Merkel has been criticised for being personally present and involved at the M100 Media Award handover[70] to Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. This happened at a time of fierce emotional debate in Germany over disparaging remarks about Muslim immigrants made by the former Deutsche Bundesbank executive Thilo Sarrazin.[71] The Zentralrat der Muslime[72][73] and the left party[74] (Die Linke) as well as the German Green Party[75][76] criticised the action by the centre-right chancellor. The Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper wrote: "This will probably be the most explosive appointment of her chancellorship so far."[77] Others have praised Merkel and called it a brave and bold move for the cause of freedom of speech.

In September 2010 due to a debate of integration, Merkel said to the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper that "Germans will see more mosques".[78] In October 2010, following a speech by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany Christian Wulff during the German reunification day, she stated that "Islam is part of Germany".[79]

Members of her cabinet and Merkel herself also support the idea of, and are already introducing, Islamic education and classes in schools.[80][81][82][83]

Selected published works

  • Der, R.; A. Merkel, H.-J. Czerwon (1980). "On the influence of spatial correlations on the rate of chemical reactions in dense gases. I. Quantum statistical theory". Chemical Physics 53 (3): 427–435. Bibcode 1980CP.....53..427D. doi:10.1016/0301-0104(80)85131-7. 
  • Der, R.; R. Haberlandt, A. Merkel (1980). "On the influence of spatial correlations on the rate of chemical reactions in dense systems. II. Numerical results". Chemical Physics 53 (3): 437–442. Bibcode 1980CP.....53..437D. doi:10.1016/0301-0104(80)85132-9. 
  • Boeger, I.; A. Merkel, J. Lachmann, H.-J. Spangenberg, T. Turanyi (1982). "An Extended Kinetic Model and its Reduction by Sensitivity Analysis for the Methanol/Oxygen Gas-Phase Thermolysis". Acta Chim. Hung. 129 (6): 855–864. 
  • Merkel, Angela; Ilka Böger, Hans Joachim Spangenberg, Lutz Zülicke (1982). "Berechnung von Hochdruck-Geschwindigkeitskonstanten für Zerfalls- und Rekombinationsreaktionen einfacher Kohlenwasserstoffmoleküle und -radikale (Calculation of High Pressure Velocity Constants for Reactions of Decay and Recombinations of simple Hydrocarbon Molecules and Radicals)". Zeitschrift für Physikalische Chemie 263 (3): 449–460. 
  • Merkel, Angela; Lutz Zülicke (1985). "Berechnung von Geschwindigkeitskonstanten für den C-H-Bindungsbruch im Methylradikal (Calculation of Velocity Constants for the Break of the Carbon-Hydrogen-Bond in the Methyl Radical)". Zeitschrift für Physikalische Chemie 266 (2): 353–361. 
  • Merkel, Angela; Lutz Zülicke (1987). "Nonempirical parameter estimate for the statistical adiabatic theory of unimolecular fragmentation carbon-hydrogen bond breaking in methyl". Molecular Physics 60 (6): 1379–1393. Bibcode 1987MolPh..60.1379M. doi:10.1080/00268978700100901. 
  • Merkel, Angela; Zdenek Havlas, Rudolf Zahradník (1988). "Evaluation of the rate constant for the SN2 reaction fluoromethane + hydride: methane + fluoride in the gas phase". Journal of American Chemical Society 110 (25): 8355–8359. doi:10.1021/ja00233a012. 
  • Mix, H.; J. Sauer, K.-P. Schröder, A. Merkel (1988). "Vibrational Properties of Surface Hydroxyls: Nonempirical Model Calculations Including Anharmonicities". Coll. Czechoslov. Chem. Commun. 53 (10): 2191–2202. doi:10.1135/cccc19882191. 
  • Schneider, F.; A. Merkel (1989). "The lowest bound states of triplet (BH2)+". Chemical Physics Letters 161 (6): 527–531. Bibcode 1989CPL...161..527S. doi:10.1016/0009-2614(89)87033-2. 
  • Merkel, Angela; Lutz Zülicke (1990). "Theoretical approach to reactions of polyatomic molecules". International Journal of Quantum Chemistry 36 (2): 191–208. doi:10.1002/qua.560380214. 
  • Merkel, Angela (1998). "The role of science in sustainable development". Science 281 (5375): 336–337. Bibcode 1998Sci...281..336M. doi:10.1126/science.281.5375.336. 

References

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Bibliography

  • Bolgherini, Silvia; Grotz, Florian, eds (2010). Germany After the Grand Coalition: Governance and Politics in a Turbulent Environment. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780230622852.  Studies of the "Grand Coalition" of 2005–09 and the first Merkel government.
  • Mills, Cliff (2008). Angela Merkel. New York: Chelsea House. ISBN 9780791094969. 

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Political offices
Preceded by
Ursula Lehr
Minister for Women and Youth
1991–1994
Succeeded by
Claudia Nolte
Preceded by
Klaus Töpfer
Minister for the Environment and Reactor Safety
1994–1998
Succeeded by
Jürgen Trittin
Preceded by
Gerhard Schröder
Chancellor of Germany
2005–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Matti Vanhanen
President of the European Council
2007
Succeeded by
José Sócrates
Party political offices
Preceded by
Peter Hintze
Secretary General of the Christian Democratic Union
1998–2000
Succeeded by
Ruprecht Polenz
Preceded by
Wolfgang Schäuble
Leader of the Christian Democratic Union
2000–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Friedrich Merz
Parliamentary Leader of the CDU/CSU
2002–2005
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Volker Kauder
Diplomatic posts
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Vladimir Putin
Chairperson of the Group of 8
2007
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Yasuo Fukuda
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Jerzy Buzek
Speaker of the College of Europe Opening Ceremony
2010
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Giorgio Napolitano


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