News > EM Germany: Overview of the German Government

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  • 22nd March 2018 - 12:22 GMT

EM Germany: Overview of the German Government

Following the recent elections and formation of a coalition, European Movement Germany has put together a useful guide to the new members of the German Government. Find out more about them and their roles below:

Federal Chancellery:

Dr Angela Merkel, MP (Christian Democratic Union – CDU)



Angela Merkel (CDU) is taking up her fourth team as Federal Chancellor, the third time in a “grand coalition” with the SPD. A Member of the Bundestag since 1990, she was appointed as Federal Minister for Women and Youth in 1991 under Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in 1994. After the CDU/CSU coalition was defeated in 1998, she was elected Secretary-General of the CDU, before being elected the party’s first ever female leader in 2000 – a post she still holds.



Prof Dr Helge Braun, MP (CDU)

Credit: Tobias Koch

Chief of Staff and Federal Minister for Special Affairs

Helge Braun was born in Gießen, is a trained medical doctor and has been a member of the German Bundestag since 2009. He entered the Cabinet as Minister of State in 2013. One responsibility there was to coordinate the handling of the European refugee situation at federal and Länder government level. He is a member of the Union of European Federalists (UEF).




Olaf Scholz MP (Social Democratic Party – SPD)

Credit: Sabrina Theissen

Post: Minister of Finance and Vice Chancellor

Olaf Scholz was born in Osnabrück in 1958 and grew up in Hamburg. In 2001 he was the Interior Senator of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, from 2007-2009 Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. Subsequently from 2009-2011 he was Vice Chairman of the SPD parliamentary group in the German Bundestag and has been First Mayor of Hamburg since 2011.

Scholz sees Macron’s pro-European direction as an important impulse and pleads in favour of finding a reply to Macron’s ideas and suggestions. In this regard, Scholz does not see the EU as merely an internal market. In his view, the goal should be to develop common policies: in foreign and security policy, as well as on the themes of migration, finance and economy.



European Policy Coordination:

Peter Altmaier, MP (CDU)

Credit: Peter Altmaier

Department: Economic Affairs and Energy

Peter Altmaier was born in Ensdorf, Saarland. He is a lawyer and was First Parliamentary Secretary of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag and then Federal Minister for the Environment before he became Head of the Federal Chancellery in 2013.

From 2004-2008 Peter Altmaier was Vice President of the EBD (European Movement Germany) and from 2006-2011 President of the Europa Union Germany. He was a member of the Bundestag’s European Committee and deputy member in the European Convention. As Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior he also had power of representation on European policy issues.




Heiko Maas, MP (SPD)

Credit: Susie Knoll

Department: Foreign Affairs

Born in Saarlouis in 1966. From 1996-1998 Heiko Maas was the State Secretary in the Saarland Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Transport, and subsequently from 1998-1999 Minister for the Environment, Energy and Transport, also in Saarland. From 2012-2013 he was Minister for Economic Affairs, Labour, Energy and Transport and at the same time Deputy Minister-President of Saarland. Since 2013 Maas has been Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection.


Maas advocated the establishment of a Europe-wide register of extremists. He also calls for action across Europe against right-wing populists and hate speech. He is committed to reform Europe.



Other Departments:

Dr Katarina Barley, MP (SPD)

Credit: Katarina Barley

Department: Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection

Born in 1968 in Cologne. From 2013-2015 Katarina Barley was legal adviser to the SPD-parliamentary group and from 2015-2017 Secretary General of the SPD. In 2017 Barley was appointed Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. She is currently the Acting Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.

One of Barley’s key demands is a more social and democratic Europe. She is calling for more transparency and a European solution for the problem of youth unemployment in many member states.



Dr Franziska Giffey (SPD)

Credit: Joachim Gern

Department: Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth

Born 1978 in Frankfurt (Oder). Franziska Giffey has been Mayor of Berlin-Neukölln since 2015, she is head of the Economic and Finance Department and District Chairwoman of the SPD Neukölln.

She was the Representative for European Affairs in the Neukölln district administration. During her studies, she completed work placements in Brussels and in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.


Hubertus Heil ,MP (SPD)

Credit: Susi Knoll

Department: Labour and Social Affairs

Hubertus Heil was born in 1972 in Hildesheim and studied Political Science and Sociology. From 2005 to 2009 and again in 2017 he was Secretary General of the SPD.

He would like to take Europe forward, countering sceptics and opponents, and solve the difficult questions regarding refugees and migrants.



Anja Karliczek MP (CDU)

Credit: Rauß Fotografie

Department: Education and Research

Anja Karliczek was born in Ibbenbüren and studied Business Administration, obtaining a degree from the University of Hagen.

She supports all activities which strengthen Europe’s unity and make the EU more capable of taking action. She would like to see more growth across the EU and secure new jobs.



Julia Klöckner (CDU)

Credit: Laurence Chaperon

Department: Food and Agriculture

Julia Klöckner was born in Bad Kreuznach and studied Political Science, Catholic Theology and Education in Mainz. She has been a Member of the German Bundestag since 2002 and in 2009 was named Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection.

Julia Klöckner dressed as ‘Europa’ for carnival celebrations. She pleads the case for more proximity to citizens at the European level and she would like to see “more emotion, less technocracy”.



Dr Ursula von der Leyen MP (CDU)

Credit: Laurence Chaperon

Department: Defence   

Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen was born in Brussels, Belgium, and qualified as a medical doctor. From 2003 to 2005 she was Minister for Social Affairs, Women, Family Affairs and Health of Lower Saxony, from 2005 to 2009 Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, and from 2009 to 2013 Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. She has been Federal Minister of Defence since 2013 and will continue in her cabinet post in the next government.

She would like more integration in European defence policy, including a European Army. During her term as Defence Minister, the first European defence cooperation, Pesco (Permanent Structured Cooperation), was agreed.


Dr Gerd Müller, MP (Christian Social Union – CSU)

Credit: Conrad Nutschan

Department: Economic Cooperation and Development

Gerhard “Gerd” Müller was born in Krumbach and graduated in Business Education. Since 2013 he has been the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Müller was a Member of the European Parliament from 1989 to 1994 and was Parliamentary Manager of the EVP group (EPP, European People’s Party). On the subject of refugees and migrants, he is seeking to combat the reasons why people leave their native countries.


Andreas Scheuer (CSU)

Credit: CSU

Department: Transport and Digital Infrastructure

Andreas Scheuer was born in Passau and studied Politics, Sociology and Economics. He has been a Member of the German Bundestag since 2002 and Secretary General of the CSU since 2013.

He would like to implement Bavarian concerns and demands at the European level too and thus strengthen Bavaria and Europe. In 2014 he organised the election campaigns for the European elections.



Svenja Schulze (Social Democratic Party – SPD)

Credit: Gerd Seidel

Department: Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety

Svenja Schulze was born in Düsseldorf and studied German Literature and Political Science. She has been Secretary General of the SPD in North Rhine-Westphalia since 2017. From 2010 to 2017 she was Minister for Innovation, Science and Research of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

She supports minimum wages throughout Europe, a European unemployment insurance and a European Finance Minister with their own budget.



Horst Seehofer (Christian Social Union – CSU)

Credit: CSU

Department: Interior, Building and Homeland

Horst Seehofer was born in Ingolstadt and studied Business Administration. He has been Chairman of the CSU since 2008. From 2008 to 2018 he was the State Premier of Bavaria.


Jens Spahn MP (CDU)


Credit: Maximilian König

Department: Health 

Jens Spahn was born in the town of Ahaus. He has an MA in Political Science from the University of Hagen. Until 2015 he was a member of the Committee on Health and thereafter became the Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance.

In 2012 he was voted one of “40 under 40 – European Young Leaders” by an independent initiative. He would like to increase cooperation between EU states in the areas of defence, migration, security and digitalisation. He also supports the Commission’s Interrail initiative.



Minister of State:

Michael Roth, MP (SPD)

Credit: Susie Knoll

Department: Europe at the Federal Foreign Office

Michael Roth was born in Heringen and has a degree in Political Science. Since 2014, he has been Minister of State for Europe in the Federal Foreign Office and Commissioner for Franco-German cooperation.

He is Minister of State for Europe, would like a “one-Europe policy” and describes Europe as a community of values.


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