Christian Schmidt (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Christian Schmidt
Christian Schmidt (cropped).jpg
Schmidt in 2023
High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina
Assumed office
1 August 2021
Preceded byValentin Inzko
Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure
In office
24 October 2017 – 14 March 2018
ChancellorAngela Merkel
Preceded byAlexander Dobrindt
Succeeded byAndreas Scheuer
Minister of Food and Agriculture
In office
17 February 2014 – 14 March 2018
ChancellorAngela Merkel
Preceded byHans-Peter Friedrich
Succeeded byJulia Klöckner
Parliamentary Secretary of State for Economic Cooperation and Development
In office
17 December 2013 – 17 February 2014
ChancellorAngela Merkel
MinisterGerd Müller
Preceded byGudrun Kopp
Succeeded byThomas Silberhorn
Parliamentary Secretary of State for Defence
In office
23 November 2005 – 17 December 2013
ChancellorAngela Merkel
MinisterFranz Josef Jung
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg
Thomas de Maizière
Preceded byWalter Kolbow
Succeeded byRalf Brauksiepe
Member of the Bundestag
for Fürth
In office
2 December 1990 – 31 July 2021
Personal details
Born (1957-08-26) 26 August 1957 (age 65)
Obernzenn, West Germany
Political partyChristian Social Union
Ria Hess
(m. 1989)
Alma materUniversity of Erlangen

Hans Сhristian Friedrich Schmidt[1] (born 26 August 1957) is a German politician of the centre-right Christian Social Union (CSU). He is the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, having assumed office on 1 August 2021.

Schmidt served as Minister of Food and Agriculture from 2014 until 2018. He was Parliamentary State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry of Defence from 2005 to 2013 and Parliamentary State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development from December 2013 until February 2014.[2] He was member of the Bundestag for Fürth from 1990 to 2021.

Early life and education[edit]

Schmidt attended the Georg-Willhem-Steller-Gymnasium in Bad Windsheim where he completed his Abitur in 1976. He then undertook mandatory military service in the 1st Mountain Division of the West German Army. He began legal studies in 1977 in Erlangen and Lausanne. Schmidt finished his legal studies with the successful completion of the required state examinations in 1982 and 1985. He was admitted to the bar in 1985 and practiced law until the assumption of his duties as Parliamentary State Secretary in November 2005.

Political career[edit]

As a student Schmidt joined the Junge Union (JU), the CSU youth group, in 1973. In 1976 he registered as a member of the CSU. From 1980–1982 he was chairman of the JU-District Association in Neustadt-an-der-Aisch. In 1982 he was named Chair of the JU-Regional Association for Central Franconia, a position that he held until 1991. From 1984 to 1990 Christian Schmidt was a town councillor in his hometown of Obernzenn and member of the District Council for Neustadt an der Aisch-Bad Windsheim.

From 1989 to 1993 Schmidt was also a member of the CSU State Committee, a post that he took up again in 1999. Since 1999, in addition to his duties on the CSU State Committee, Schmidt has been Chairman of the CSU-District Association in Fuerth.

Schmidt is the Chair of the CSU Regional Working Group on Foreign, Security and European Policy. Since May 2010 he has also served as Chair of the Regional Evangelical Working Group of the CSU. In May 2011 he was named Chair of the Federal Evangelical Working Group of the CSU/CDU.

Member of Parliament (1990–2021)[edit]

Schmidt with Angela Merkel and Thomas de Maizière, 20 November 2012

Schmidt was elected to the German Parliament, the Bundestag, in the 1990 elections. From 1991 to 2002 he was Chair of the national level CSU Working Group for Foreign, Defence and European policy. He then went on to serve as Chair of the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Defence Working Group. In this capacity he also served as the CDU/CSU spokesman for defence policy.

Schmidt served as Chair of the German-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group from 1994 until 1998 and as Chair for the German-British Parliamentary Friendship Group from 1998 until 2005. He has also been a member of the German-Baltic, German-Croatian, and German-Czech Parliamentary Friendship Groups. He was his parliamentary group's rapporteur on the German-Polish “Good Neighbour” Treaty in 1991, as well as the 1992 German-Czechoslovakia Treaty. In 1997 the Federal Minister of Defence selected Schmidt to serve on the Advisory Committee of the German-Czech Discussion Forum.

He was rapporteur for the discussions pertaining to the Parliamentary Participation Act of 2005 dealing with the deployment of the German Bundeswehr within the Federal Republic.

Schmidt entered the German Parliament as a directly elected candidate, representing Fürth. In the 2009 elections he won 43.3% of the First Votes. In December 2012 he was nominated for the seventh time as the CSU candidate for the upcoming Federal Parliamentary Elections in 2013. The CSU Assembly of Delegates awarded him 98.7% of the vote (155 of 157 votes).[3]

Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Defence (2005–2013)[edit]

Schmidt alongside U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, 5 June 2013

Schmidt was named Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Defence by Chancellor Angela Merkel on 23 November 2005. In this capacity he served as parliamentary and political representative for three Ministers of the Defence; Franz Josef Jung, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and Thomas de Maizière.

During his time in office Schmidt advanced the establishment of a foundation to care for service members negatively impacted by the side effects of radar signals encountered during their service. His time in office has seen several landmark events including the investigation into the wartime activities of World War II German flying ace Werner Mölders (2007), the reorientation of the Federal Republic's armed forces (since 2010) and the resignation of Defence Minister zu Guttenberg in the wake of a plagiarism scandal (2011). Schmidt had defended zu Guttenberg against the accusations of plagiary. Schmidt also played an instrumental role in the establishment and financing of the “Hardship Fund” (Härtefall-Stiftung). This fund, maintained by the Soldiers’ Relief Association e.V., was founded in 2012 with the express remit of supporting soldiers seriously injured in the line of duty. The fund provides support above and beyond the standard duty of care laws in the Federal Republic, thereby serving as additional assistance for those veterans most in need.

Following the resignation of zu Guttenberg in 2011 Schmidt remained in office and was re-confirmed to the post by the new Minister for Defense, Thomas de Maiziere. In the negotiations to form a coalition government following the 2013 federal elections, he was part of the CDU/CSU delegation in the working group on foreign affairs, defense policy and development cooperation, led by de Maizière and Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

From 2011 until 2017 Schmidt had been serving as one of 5 deputy chairmen of the CSU, under the leadership of chairman Horst Seehofer. In this capacity, he was his party's spokesman on foreign and security policy, as well as on European politics. He was also responsible for the relationship of the CSU with other parties that are members of the European People's Party caucus (Christian Democrats) at the European Union level. He managed CSU international outreach to Israel, Croatia, Austria, the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture (2014–2018)[edit]

Schmidt arriving to an EPP summit in Brussels, 17 March 2016

From 2014 until 2018, Schmidt served as Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture in the third cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In response to a 2016 collapse in milk prices, Schmidt rolled out an emergency package of at least €100 million for the country's dairy farmers, including loans and tax relief.[4] Also during his time in office, Germany culled 776,000 farm chickens, turkeys, ducks and other types of poultry between November 2016 and January 2017 to combat bird flu.[5]

In November 2017, Schmidt angered most politicians by breaking an agreement not to back a European Union proposal to extend the use of glyphosate for another five years, a measure opposed by Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks of the SPD, who had secured a guarantee of a non-positive vote just minutes before;[6] it is usual practice that Germany abstains in EU votes if ministers from different governing parties disagree on a policy. Following the incident, Chancellor Merkel publicly scolded Schmidt, arguing that he should not have voted in favor against the wish of his colleague and in breach of government instructions. Schmidt's connections to the agricultural lobby have been part of criticism ever since.[7] [8]

Later career[edit]

Since leaving his government post, Schmidt has been serving on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and its Sub-Committee on the United Nations.

In 2019, Schmidt was appointed by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community to serve on the committee that oversaw the preparations for the 30th anniversary of German reunification.[9]

In June 2021, he announced that he would not stand in the 2021 federal elections, but instead resign from active politics by the end of the parliamentary term.[10]

High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina (2021–present)[edit]

Schmidt alongside Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša (middle) and Foreign Minister Anže Logar, 1 September 2021

In January 2021, the German government nominated Schmidt to be the new High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina.[11][12] On 27 May 2021, Austrian diplomat Valentin Inzko resigned from his office of the High Representative, setting Schmidt to become the new High Representative on 1 August 2021.[13] On 1 August, he officially became the new High Representative, succeeding Inzko.[14] Russia had opposed Schmidt's appointment and refuses to recognise his authority.[15]

In November 2021, Schmidt gave his first report to the United Nations secretary-general, warning that Bosnia and Herzegovina was in imminent danger of breaking apart with a possible return to conflict, and warned that if this happened, international military presence should be reviewed.[15]

Schmidt imposed changes to Bosnia and Herzegovina's electoral law after voting hours ended for the 2022 general election. The changes prominently included an expansion of the Federal House of Peoples from 56 to 80 members, changes in the election process for the house as well as changes in the election process for the president and vice presidents of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[16][17] An earlier draft of election law changes that leaked in July was met with protests in the capital Sarajevo.[18] The draft was also criticised by Bisera Turković, the Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Iranian embassy, claiming it "consolidates the ethnic divisions".[19] The changes received support from the United States and the United Kingdom embassies.[20]

On 28 April 2023, after months of political deadlock in the formation of a new Federal government, following the 2022 general election, Schmidt intervened by imposing new changes, with Social Democratic Party president Nermin Nikšić getting appointed as the new Federal Prime Minister.[21] His appointment was deemed unconstitutional by the opposition due to Schmidt's intervention, but was afterwards accepted.[22]

Political positions[edit]

In August 2012, Schmidt was one of 124 members of the Bundestag to sign a letter that was sent to the Russian ambassador to Germany, Vladimir Grinin, expressing concern over the trial against the three members of Pussy Riot. “Being held in detention for months and the threat of lengthy punishment are draconian and disproportionate,” the lawmakers said in the letter. “In a secular and pluralist state, peaceful artistic acts -- even if they can be seen as provocative -- must not lead to the accusation of serious criminal acts that lead to lengthy prison terms.”[23][24]

Other activities[edit]

Corporate boards[edit]

Non-profit organizations[edit]

  • Leo Baeck Foundation, Member of the Board of Trustees[25]
  • Society for Defense and Security Policy (GfW), Member of the Board of Trustees
  • German Atlantic Society, President (since 2006)
  • Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation, Co-Chairman (since 2013)
  • German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), Chairman of the Czech Republic Discussion Group[26]
  • Coordination Council for German-Czech Dialogue, Member of the Board
  • Foundation for the Examination of the Dictatorship in East Germany, Member of the Board of Trustees
  • American Jewish Committee in Berlin, Member of the Advisory Board
  • Hanns Seidel Foundation, Deputy Chairman of the Board[27]
  • Help for Self-Help e.V., Honorary Member of the Board
  • Comrades Association of Alpine Troops in Munich, Member
  • German Foundation for Peace Research (DSF), Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Trustees (2009–2013)
  • Centre for International Peace Operations (ZIF), Ex-Officio Member of the Supervisory Board (2009–2013)
  • Car and Travel Club Germany (ARCD), Member of the Presidium (1993–2007)
  • Free World Commission, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security (Atlantic Council), Member (2020–)[28]



  1. ^ "Diplomatic and Consular Corps and International Organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina" (PDF). July 2022. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 August 2022. Retrieved 19 August 2022.
  2. ^ "Christian Schmidt, CDU/CSU". 27 May 2013. Archived from the original on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  3. ^ "Schmidt und Söder punkten in Langenzenn". 19 December 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  4. ^ James Shotter (30 May 2016), Germany promises €100m emergency package for dairy farmers Financial Times.
  5. ^ Hans-Edzard Busemann (13 February 2017), Germany has culled 776,000 poultry since bird flu outbreak Reuters.
  6. ^ "Weedkiller vote poisons European politics". POLITICO. 27 November 2017. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  7. ^ GEO (
  8. ^ Joseph Nasr (28 November 2017), Merkel scolds ally to shield coalition talks from weedkiller row Reuters.
  9. ^ 30 Jahre Friedliche Revolution und Deutsche Einheit Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community, press release of 3 April 2019.
  10. ^ Bundestagswahl: Ex-Minister Schmidt kandidiert doch nicht Süddeutsche Zeitung, June 10, 2021.
  11. ^ Andreas Rinke (January 20, 2021), Germany nominates ex-minister Schmidt for post of Bosnia peace envoy Reuters.
  12. ^ a b Karčić, Harun (23 April 2021). "Germany, Russia and the Gambit for Bosnia". Royal United Services Institute. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  13. ^ S.H. (27 May 2021). "Valentin Inzko podnio ostavku, novi visoki predstavnik dolazi 1. augusta" (in Bosnian). Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  14. ^ G.M. (1 August 2021). "Ima li Schmidt rješenje za "bosanski lonac"?" (in Bosnian). Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  15. ^ a b Borger, Julian (2 November 2021). "Bosnia is in danger of breaking up, warns top international official". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  16. ^ "Schmidt nametnuo izmjene Izbornog zakona BiH: Evo o čemu se radi". Oslobođenje (in Bosnian). 2 October 2022. Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  17. ^ "Objavljujemo detalje: Pročitajte koje je izmjene Izbornog zakona večeras donio Schmidt". Radio Sarajevo (in Croatian). 2 October 2022. Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  18. ^ "Protesti ispred sjedišta OHR-a u Sarajevu". Al Jazeera Balkans (in Bosnian). 25 July 2022. Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  19. ^ Klix.
  20. ^ Tportal.
  21. ^ Sedin Spahić (28 April 2023). "Imenovana Vlada: Nikšić novi premijer, SDA i službeno opozicija u FBiH, ovo su imena svih ministara" (in Bosnian). Dnevni avaz. Retrieved 28 April 2023.
  22. ^ "Nikšić: Razumijem da se SDA protivi tome da prepusti vlast, znaju šta gube" (in Bosnian). N1. 28 April 2023. Retrieved 28 April 2023.
  23. ^ Henry Meyer (8 August 2012), Madonna Urges Freedom for Anti-Putin Punk Girls at Concert Bloomberg News.
  24. ^ Appell aus dem Bundestag: Deutsche Abgeordnete fordern Milde für Pussy Riot Spiegel Online, 7 August 2012.
  25. ^ Board of Trustees Leo Baeck Foundation.
  26. ^ Study Groups, Discussion Groups and Task Forces Archived 1 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine German Council on Foreign Relations.
  27. ^ Board and Members, 2019 Hanns Seidel Foundation.
  28. ^ "Commission on Advancing a Free World". Atlantic Council. 2020. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  29. ^ Narodne Novine RH 84/2013


News sites[edit]

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina