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In , at the age of 19, Schulz joined the SPD , became involved with the Young Socialists and in was elected to the Würselen Municipal Council, remaining a member for just over two electoral terms, to , from onwards as mayor.
He held that office until As a municipal counselor he initiated the twinning of Würselen with the city of Morlaix in French Brittany , where he became friends with Marylise Lebranchu , who was the mayor and later became French Minister of Justice — and Minister for Public Services — In the European elections Schulz was elected to the European Parliament and between and was chair of the SPD delegation.
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 and was also a vice-chair of the Socialist Group in the EP. Since , 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.
A large majority of MEPs from the other political groups followed and consequently Buttiglione was withdrawn and replaced by Franco Frattini. By , SPD chairman Kurt Beck has said he wanted Schulz to succeed Günter Verheugen as Germany's EU commissioner following the European elections ; the post eventually went to Günther Oettinger.
Following the 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 European Parliament, Daniel Cohn-Bendit , proposed the Belgian Liberal Guy Verhofstadt as a candidate for that office.
On 15 September , 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 , Schulz was elected as President of the European Parliament, with votes in favour out of cast. Together with EU Commission President Barroso and EU Council President Herman van Rompuy , Schulz collected the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the European Union.
The Prize, honoring "over six decades [having] 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.
In November , Schulz announced that he would not run for a third term in January , and instead return to German politics. On 6 November , Schulz was nominated as "candidate designate" by the Party of European Socialists — at the time the second-largest group in the seat parliament —, with the aim to become the first candidate to be elected President of the European Commission by democratic elections.
On 1 March , Schulz accepted the nomination of the Party of European Socialists in Rome. He was elected by PES members out of , 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, instead favouring Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark's Social Democrats.
Schulz launched his European campaign on 17 April in front of 1, socialist activists in Paris, promising to tackle taxes and social dumping. 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.
Since , Schulz has been part of the SPD leadership under party chairmen Gerhard Schröder — , Franz Müntefering —05 and —09 , Matthias Platzeck —06 , Kurt Beck —08 and Sigmar Gabriel — Within the party, he serves as co-chairman of the Commission for International Politics, alongside Niels Annen.
In the negotiations to form a coalition government following the federal elections , he was part of the wider leadership circle chaired by Angela Merkel , Horst Seehofer and Sigmar Gabriel.
During his campaign for the Presidency of the European Commission, Schulz established himself as a regular presence in German media on issues unconnected to the European Parliament elections that year.
On 24 January , Schulz was confirmed as the Social Democrats' candidate for chancellor. On 24 January , Schulz became the Social Democrats' candidate for chancellor in that year's Federal election.
For a short period of time the 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 24 September Polls also showed Schulz leading Merkel if Germans could elect their chancellor directly.
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 crisis. Within an hour of the first exit poll, Schulz confirmed statements by other senior party figures that the SPD would not renew its Grand coalition with the CDU under Angela Merkel but head into opposition.
In February , these coalition talks concluded successfully and Schulz announced he would succeed incumbent Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel as Foreign minister.
After heavy public and internal criticism, Schulz stepped down as SPD Leader on 13 February and proposed Andrea Nahles as his replacement; and shortly thereafter he also gave up his attempt to become Foreign minister.
The attempt to install Nahles as acting party leader faced severe criticism from several regional party associations as well as experts in constitutional law.
In December , Schulz announced that he would not stand in the federal elections but instead resign from active politics by the end of the parliamentary term.
Schulz is widely considered an ardent EU supporter. Schulz is committed to strengthening Europe and the European institutions.
In , 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 Parliament.
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 antisemitism.
After the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in a membership referendum , Schulz warned in mid "If we break the instruments with which we banish the demons, we will set them free again.
In December , Schulz called for a new constitutional treaty for a " United States of Europe ". 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, Italy, Poland and 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.
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.
In , Schulz delivered a speech to the Israeli Knesset , in which he criticised 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.
In , amid the Ukrainian crisis , Schulz suspended a committee made up of Russian and EU lawmakers that meets several times a year to improve ties.
In , 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".
On 2 July , 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 replied:. 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 role of a Kapo [concentration-camp inmate appointed as supervisor]. 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.
On 24 November 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 of Parliament, Jerzy Buzek , excluded Bloom 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 , thereby attracting a lot of negative attention.
This was paid for days a year, in addition to his salary of thousand euros per year. A member of parliament receives this daily allowance only for attending.
In April , the European Parliament, as part of its decision to discharge the financial year , criticized two personnel matters where Schulz had been responsible for as President of Parliament.
An employee of the parliament received an expatriation allowance of around 20, euros, even though his center of life had previously been in Berlin.
The employee was a confidant of Schulz and later worked for the SPD as its campaign manager. Schulz was also accused of signing irregular promotions of close associates in a presidential decree that would have secured them financially advantageous posts beyond his departure.
Schulz described the complaint as an election maneuver by "anti-Europeans, conservatives and Greens" and referred a decision of the European Anti-Fraud Office not to initiate an official investigation.
On the day of the Federal Election , Schulz said he would under no circumstances become a minister of a government led by Angela Merkel or negotiate to form a Grand Coalition.
After the SPD and Union parties finished their coalition talks on 6 February , he made his intentions clear that he wanted to be Foreign Minister in the next government.
This was met by heavy criticism from the party base, as Schulz was abandoning his word for a second time—the first being his vow not to enter coalition talks with Angela Merkel.
The harshest criticism came from the incumbent Foreign Minister and his predecessor as SPD leader, Sigmar Gabriel. He accused Schulz and the Party leadership of not showing him the respect he deserves and being rude towards him.
This public attack, coupled with internal pressure from the party leadership, led Schulz to retract prior statements and on 9 February he released a statement saying he would not enter into the new government;  he resigned as leader of the SPD effective 13 February 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.
Besides German, Schulz speaks English, French, Spanish, Italian and Dutch with varying degrees of fluency. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
German politician. For similarly-named people, see Martin Schultz disambiguation. Ralf Stegner Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel Olaf Scholz Manuela Schwesig Natascha Kohnen Malu Dreyer.
Inge Schulz. Further information: German federal election, Biography portal Socialism portal Germany portal European Union portal.
Retrieved 24 November Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 1 July Archived from the original on 22 April Retrieved 27 April The Los Angeles Times.
Retrieved 10 February Der Spiegel. Retrieved 30 January Financial Times. Retrieved 12 February Archived from the original on 26 June Retrieved 12 June Politico Europe.
Schiltz and Andre Tauber 29 May , "Die Europäische Union ist tief gespalten" Welt am Sonntag. Spiegel Online. Retrieved 5 March Die Welt.
Die Zeit. Archived from the original on 22 March Retrieved 13 February Deutsche Welle. Archived 24 July at the Wayback Machine In: Die Zeit.
Juli DPA -Meldung. EurActiv in German. Retrieved 9 February Mr Schulz has spent almost all of his adult life as a member of the Social Democratic Party SPD.
During the campaign he reiterated his calls for free education, more investment such as in nursing care and schools as well as qualification programmes for the unemployed.
He vowed to close the "intolerable pay gap" so men and women in both eastern and western Germany get the same amount of pay for doing the same work, and has pledged to get rid of US nuclear weapons stationed in Germany.
He visited Italy to discuss a European-wide approach to the refugee crisis, opposes the idea of a cap on refugees, and has sought for the most part to keep the issue of Mrs Merkel's handling of the refugee influx outside of the campaign.
As European Parliament President, Mr Schulz has been advocating a bigger role for the EU's legislative body, and has been highly critical of Brexit and the British Conservative Party.
He said the British Government expected a different outcome from the referendum and was not prepared for the result, saying: That shows you should never play with fire.
Mr Schulz has consistently trailed in the polls but is hoping his "man of the people" appeal and Ms Merkel's difficulties over her handling of Europe's refugee crisis might give him a chance.
With the economy performing well and unemployment at a record-low, however, Germans may have little appetite for political change.
He has acknowledged his party suffered two "very, very difficult defeats" in recent regional elections, but insisted the national contest could swing his way because many voters are still undecided.
Under Germany's proportional representation system, if the Social Democrats surprisingly emerged as the largest party, they could try to form a coalition with the Greens and a far-leftist Left party, which he has not ruled out.
Mr Schulz, who is married and has two children, has been teetotal since A polyglot speaker of several languages , he is said to be an avid reader from his days as a bookseller, especially of historical biographies.
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