MARTIN SCHULZ (born 20 December 1955) is a German politician and the
chairman of the
Social Democratic Party of Germany
Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). He was the
President of the European Parliament
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
Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group. Elected
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
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
Member of the European Parliament
Member of the European Parliament (MEP), 1994–2017
* 3.1 President of the European Parliament, 2012–2017
* 3.2 Candidacy for President of the
* 4 Domestic politics
* 4.1 The 2017 Federal election
* 5 Political positions
* 5.1 European integration
* 5.2 Security policy
* 5.3 Economy
* 5.4 Relations with the Americas
* 5.5 Relations with Russia
* 5.6 Relations with
Israel and Palestine
* 6 Other activities
* 7 Controversy
* 7.1 Berlusconi incident
* 7.2 Incident with
* 7.3 Campaign-related issues
* 8 Personal life
* 9 Honours and decorations
* 9.1 Europe
* 9.2 South America
* 9.3 Asia
* 10 References
* 11 External links
Martin Schulz was born in the village of Hehlrath, which is now a
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
Holy Ghost Fathers (or Spiritans), in
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
Marylise Lebranchu , who was the mayor and later became French
Minister of Justice (2000-2002) and Minister for Public Services
MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT (MEP), 1994–2017
Martin Schulz with Italian President
Giorgio Napolitano in 2014.
In the 1994 European elections Schulz was elected to the European
Parliament and between 2000 and 2004 was chair of the
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 the post eventually went to Günther
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
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
Nirj Deva (142 votes) and
Diana Wallis (141 votes).
Together with EU Commission President Barroso and EU Council
Herman van Rompuy , Schulz collected the 2012 Nobel Peace
Prize on behalf of the European Union. The Prize, honoring "over six
decades 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
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
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
Party of European Socialists
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,
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
Werner Faymann of Austria. Accordingly, Schulz did not
European Commission but remained in his current position.
Since 1999, Schulz has been part of the
SPD leadership under party
Gerhard Schröder (1999–2004), Franz Müntefering
(2004–05 and 2008–09),
Matthias Platzeck (2005–06), Kurt Beck
Sigmar Gabriel (since 2009). Within the party, he
serves as co-chairman of the Commission for International Politics,
Niels Annen . Schulz was a
SPD delegate to the Federal
Convention for the purpose of electing the President of
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
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
For more details on this topic, see
German federal election, 2017 .
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. Following the
announcement of his nomination, his party gained an average of ten
percentage points in public opinion polls. For a short period of time
SPD was close to the Union parties of Chancellor Merkel, during
this time political observers regarded 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
With unemployment hitting new lows each month during the campaign,
Schulz later struggled to gain traction with a message focusing on the
ills of inequality in
Germany . Shortly before the election, he
refocused his campaign on the risk of a rekindled European migrant
Schulz meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad
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
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
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
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,
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
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
Boris Nemtsov , Schulz criticised the barring as "a high
affront to EU–Russia relations and the work of democratic
RELATIONS WITH ISRAEL AND PALESTINE
In 2014, Schulz delivered a speech to the Israeli
Knesset , in which
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
European Parliament election, 2004 (Germany)
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
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 . 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
Jerzy Buzek , excluded Bloom from the Chamber. The
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, Nico and Lina.
He suffered a period of alcoholism as a young man, after a knee
injury put an end to his hopes of playing football .
Martin Schulz speaks English, French, Spanish,
Italian and Dutch with varying degrees of fluency.
HONOURS AND DECORATIONS
* Biography portal
* Socialism portal
European Union portal
* 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
Doctor Honoris Causa
Doctor Honoris Causa title by the National School of
Political Science and Public Administration of
Bucharest on 31 October
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
* Argentina: Grand Cross of the Order of the Liberator General San
Martín , 22 August 2016
* Israel: Honorary PhD by
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2014
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* Official website