Last modified on 25 November 2014, at 13:34

Norbert Röttgen

Norbert Röttgen
Norbert roettgen 2012.jpg
Norbert Röttgen in 2012
Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
 Germany
In office
28 October 2009 – 16 May 2012
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Preceded by Sigmar Gabriel
Succeeded by Peter Altmaier
Chairman of CDU North Rhine-Westphalia
In office
6 November 2010 – 13 May 2012
Deputy Ursula Heinen-Esser
Armin Laschet
Karl-Josef Laumann
Michaela Noll
Sven Volmering
General Secretary Oliver Wittke
Preceded by Jürgen Rüttgers
Succeeded by TBD
First Chief Whip of parliamentary group of CDU/CSU
In office
25 January 2005 – 26 October 2009
Head Volker Kauder
Succeeded by Peter Altmaier
Personal details
Born (1965-07-02) 2 July 1965 (age 49)
Meckenheim, West Germany
Nationality German
Political party Christian Democratic Union
Spouse(s) Ebba Herfs-Röttgen
Children 3
Alma mater University of Bonn
Religion Roman Catholic
Website norbert-roettgen.de

Norbert Röttgen (born 2 July 1965) is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union. He was Federal Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety from 2009 to 2012.

Early life and educationEdit

Röttgen graduated from the Gymnasium of Rheinbach. After completing his Abitur, he started to study law at the University of Bonn in 1984. He passed his first law examination in 1989, his second examination in 1993 and practised as a lawyer in Cologne.[1] He obtained a legal doctorate from the University of Bonn in 2001.

Political careerEdit

Röttgen joined the CDU in 1982 while he was still a highschool student. From 1992 until 1996, he served as the chair of the Junge Union, the youth organisation of CDU in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Röttgen was elected to the Bundestag in 1994. From 2002 until 2005 he served as the legal policy spokesman of the parliamentary group of CDU/CSU.[1] During the First Cabinet of the Grand Coalition of Angela Merkel in 2005, he served as the Chief Parliamentary Secretary of the CDU/CSU Parliamentary group in the Bundestag until 2009.[1] He was also a member of the Parliamentary Control Panel, which provides parliamentary oversight of Germany’s intelligence services.

Federal Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear SafetyEdit

From 28 October 2009, Röttgen was the Federal Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in the Second Cabinet of Angela Merkel.[2] He also served as a member of the Board of Supervisory Directors at KfW from October 28, 2009 to May 22, 2012. From November 2010, he was the deputy chair of the CDU in Germany, as well as the chair of the CDU in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.[1] At the time, he was often mentioned as a potential successor to Merkel as chancellor.[3]

In May 2011, in his capacity as environment minister, Röttgen announced his government’s plans to shut all of the nation’s nuclear power plants until 2022. The decision was based on recommendations of an expert commission appointed after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.[4]

Following the dissolution of the state's Landtag on 14 March 2012, Röttgen confirmed his intention to run in the subsequent election as the CDU's candidate for the office of Minister-President against the incumbent, Hannelore Kraft of the SPD.[5] Röttgen ran against the debt-financed spending supported by Kraft, and even described the vote as a referendum on Merkel’s Europe policies.[6] However, he was widely seen as having failed to commit himself whole-heartedly to state politics, refusing to promise that if he lost the election he would nonetheless lead the opposition in North Rhine-Westphalia;[7] 59 percent of respondents to an FG Wahlen poll said his refusal to commit to the state “damaged the CDU.”[8]

Following the election defeat of the CDU in North Rhine-Westphalia by a margin almost three times more than was predicted in polls,[9] Röttgen resigned his position as head of the CDU in North Rhine-Westphalia. On 16 May 2012, Chancellor Merkel fired him under Article 64 of the German Basic Law as Minister for Environment; Peter Altmaier replaced him.[10][11]

Chairman of the Committee on Foreign AffairsEdit

Since 2014, Röttgen has been the chairman of the Bundestag's Committee on Foreign Affairs. He also serves on the advisory boards of the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and the Fachhochschule des Mittelstands in Bielefeld.

Political viewsEdit

Foreign policyEdit

Röttgen is considered as an advocate of a more assertive German foreign policy. In an editorial for the The Financial Times in March 2014, he argued that the only people who seemed not to realize that Germany was at the center of the Crimean crisis were “the Germans themselves.”[12] When Russian state-run energy group Gazprom conducted an asset swap with BASF, its long-term German partner, under which it increased its stake in Wingas, a German gas storage and distribution business, Röttgen raised concerns about the deal.[13] In his opinion, expanding Gazprom activities in Germay are “deepening our dependence on Russia.”[13]

Röttgen supported the European Union leaders' decision to impose sanctions on 21 individuals after the referendum in Crimea that paved the way for Putin to annex the region from Ukraine.[14] By August 2014, he demanded that Europe respond to the escalation of violence in Ukraine by agreeing to further sanctions against Russia, saying that "[a]ny hesitation would be seen by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin as European weakness that would encourage him to keep going."[15]

Climate change and the environmentEdit

Following the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Röttgen sharply criticized both U.S. President Barack Obama and China’s leadership when he said: “China doesn’t want to lead, and the U.S. cannot lead.”[16] Both Angela Merkel and Röttgen, the chief architects of the government’s energy transition plan, are thought to have pushed for a rapid nuclear phase-out with a view to raising the prospects for a possible future national coalition with the Green Party.[17][18] In 2012, Roettgen’s plan to cut subsidies for solar power drew fire from opposition parties and the photovoltaic industry, which said the move threatened thousands of jobs in what was then the world’s biggest solar market by installed capacity.[9]

Other activitiesEdit

PublicationsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d official biography
  2. ^ Kanzlerin Merkel feuert Umweltminister Röttgen
  3. ^ Aaron Wiener (May 13, 2012), Merkel's party suffers loss in key German state, early results show Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ Judy Dempsey and Jack Ewing (May 30, 2011), Germany, in Reversal, Will Close Nuclear Plants by 2022 New York Times.
  5. ^ "Neuwahlen in NRW: Röttgen gegen Kraft". dradio.de (in German). 14 March 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Nicholas Kulish (May 13, 2012), In Rebuke to Merkel’s Party, Social Democrats Win German Vote New York Times.
  7. ^ Quentin Peel (September 26, 2012), ‘Red-green’ victory makes waves in Berlin Financial Times.
  8. ^ Brian Parkin (May 14, 2012), Merkel Defeated in Worst Postwar Result in Biggest State Bloomberg.
  9. ^ a b Patrick Donahue and Brian Parkin (May 16, 2012), Merkel Fires Roettgen After Worst Result in Biggest State Bloomberg.
  10. ^ "Merkel Fires Environment Minister Röttgen". Spiegel Online. 16 May 2012. 
  11. ^ Roland Nelles (May 17, 2012), Another One Bites the Dust: It's Getting Lonely for Merkel within Her Party Der Spiegel.
  12. ^ Alison Smale (April 18, 2014), Twin Shocks Shake Foundation of German Power International Herald Tribune.
  13. ^ a b Stefan Wagstyl (March 26, 2014), Gazprom deal in Germany raises alarm Financial Times.
  14. ^ Brian Parkin and Arne Delfs (April 7, 2014), Merkel Backs U.S. Trade Deal Saying EU Ready to Shun Putin Bloomberg.
  15. ^ Andreas Rinke (August 28, 2014), German lawmaker says EU must impose new sanctions on Russia Reuters.
  16. ^ Steven Hill (January 13, 2010), Europe's Post-Copenhagen View of Obama International Herald Tribune.
  17. ^ Gerrit Wiesmann (June 30, 2011), Germans vote to scrap nuclear power Financial Times.
  18. ^ Gerrit Wiesmann and Quentin Peel (May 23, 2011), Röttgen sees rewards in non-nuclear policy Financial Times.

External linksEdit