Martin Schulz (Germany)

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Former President of the European Parliament

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Synopsis

One of Germany’s most experienced politicians, Martin served as a regional mayor before joining the European Parliament. He became part of the leadership team of the SPD, one of Germany’s two main parties, before becoming President of the European Parliament, a role he held in the years following the financial crisis. He returned to domestic politics as leader of his party, challenges Angela Merkel for the chancellorship. He remains a key figure in German and European politics, a leading advocate for the EU, and a commentator on issues from the future of democracy to economics and security.

Biography

Martin Schultz is a German politician and former President of the European Parliament. He was leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Germany, led one of the oldest political groups in the European Parliament, and remains an active pro-EU voice.

Following a turbulent adolescence and failing to graduate from school, Martin became a bookseller, working for various publishers and shops (including his own) for over a decade. During this time he joined the SPD, becoming a local councillor. After committing himself full-time to a life in politics, he became one of the youngest mayors ever in one of Germany’s most economically important states.

Martin was later elected to the European Parliament, where he joined multiple human rights and social justice committees, and served as vice-chair of the EU Socialist Group. Shortly after joining the Parliament, he became a part of the SPD’s leadership group. He also served as leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the EU, where he fought for employment, equality, civil liberties, financial market reformation and climate change, before becoming President of the European Parliament.

His time as President saw Martin lead the EU during the aftermath of the financial crisis, managing the austerity policy and the over-indebted banks across Europe. He stepped down as President to take on the leadership of the SPD and challenging Angela Merkel for German chancellorship. He later resigned as leader of the party, refusing to serve under a Merkel government or form a Grand Coalition.

In his speeches, Martin examines the future of Europe and the pressures that threaten its democracy. He tackles everything from foreign policy and security risks to the strengths and weaknesses of a macro, multi-border economy. He advocates for a stronger, more democratic Europe and discusses the importance of unification in the face of populism and the rise of the far right.

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