|Minister of Health|
14 March 2018 – 8 December 2021
|Preceded by||Hermann Gröhe|
|Succeeded by||Karl Lauterbach|
|Deputy Leader of the Christian Democratic Union|
16 January 2021 – 20 January 2022
Serving with Silvia Breher, Volker Bouffier, Julia Klöckner and Thomas Strobl
|Preceded by||Armin Laschet|
|Succeeded by||Carsten Linnemann|
|Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Finance|
3 July 2015 – 14 March 2018
Peter Altmaier (acting)
|Preceded by||Steffen Kampeter|
|Succeeded by||Christine Lambrecht|
|Member of the Bundestag |
for Steinfurt I – Borken I
|Assumed office |
17 October 2002
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
Jens Georg Spahn
16 May 1980
Ahaus, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany
|Political party||Christian Democratic Union|
|Alma mater||University of Hagen|
Jens Georg Spahn (born 16 May 1980) is a German politician who served as Federal Minister of Health in the fourth cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel from 2018 to 2021. A member of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), he has been the member of the lower house of the federal parliament, the Bundestag (German: Mitglied des Deutschen Bundestages, MdB), for Steinfurt I – Borken I since 2002.
At the time of his election in 2002, Spahn – at age 22 – was the youngest member of the CDU in the German parliament. He has since then served in the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and currently in the 20th Bundestags and is one of the main sponsors of pension reform in Germany. He was a member of the Committee of Health of the 17th Bundestag and the CDU/CSU parliamentary group's spokesperson on health. He served as Minister of Health during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany.
When Chancellor Angela Merkel stated her intention not to seek re-election for the CDU party leadership in 2018, Spahn announced his intention to stand for election as her successor in December 2018. He was eliminated in the first round of voting; the position instead went to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. Following Kramp-Karrenbauer's decision to resign in February 2020, he announced that he would not run for the party's leadership but instead endorse candidate Armin Laschet. His alliance with Laschet proved successful, as his ally became CDU party leader on 16 January 2021 and candidate for chancellor of the CDU/CSU party alliance on 19 April 2021.
Early life and career
Spahn was born on 16 May 1980 in Ahaus, North Rhine-Westphalia. He grew up with his two younger siblings in the village of Ottenstein in the north of Westmünsterland. Spahn graduated in 1999 from the Episcopal Canisius school in Ahaus. In 2001 he completed an apprenticeship as a banker at the Westdeutsche Landesbank, and worked until 2002 as a bank clerk. In 2003, Spahn began studying political science and law at the University of Hagen. In 2008, he obtained a bachelor's degree, followed by a master's degree in the same field in 2017.
Spahn became a member of the Junge Union Deutschlands (JU) in 1995, aged 15. He went on to join the CDU in 1997. He was the chair of the Borken district JU from 1999 to 2006. In 2005, he also took up the chair of the Borken district CDU, which numbers 6,500 members.
In December 2014 Spahn unexpectedly stood for a place on the CDU's ruling council against health minister Hermann Gröhe, in a contest widely seen as crystallizing the generational tensions within the party. His election bid was backed by the then 72-year-old finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble. Shortly before the vote at the annual CDU party conference, Gröhe withdrew his candidacy and Spahn was elected.
He has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Angela Merkel as Chancellor, and stood in the CDU leadership campaign in 2018 after Merkel announced that she would not seek re-election as party leader. However, the 157 votes he secured, despite being more than expected, was insufficient for him to qualify for the second round of voting, which was won by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.
Member of Parliament, 1999–present
Spahn has been a member of the Ahaus City Council since 1999.
Spahn first became a member of parliament in the 2002 elections. He has since won three consecutive elections in 2002, 2005 and 2009 in the constituency of Steinfurt I – Borken I. In 2005, he obtained 51.2% of first preference votes. In the 27 September 2009 election, Spahn won again with 44.5% of the primary vote, earning a direct mandate.
From November 2005, Spahn served as the vice-chair of the CDU/CSU working group on health policy, while at the same time chair of the CDU–CSU parliamentary group in the Committee of Health. He was also a member of the CDU–CSU–SPD coalition working group, which brought about the 2007 health reform. Since 2009, he has been chair of the working group on health and health policy as well as the spokesman of the CDU–CSU parliamentary group on health policy.
Spahn was a substitute member of the Budget Committee. He is part of the "Young Group" of the CDU–CSU parliamentary group. Spahn co-founded a cross-party group of young MPs pushing for the integration of intergeneration equity as a national objective into Germany's Basic Law.
Between 2005 and 2013, Spahn served as deputy chair of the German–Dutch Parliamentary Friendship Group. Since 2014, he has been its chair.
In negotiations to form a government following the 2013 federal elections, Spahn led the CDU–CSU delegation in the health working group; his co-chair from the SPD was Karl Lauterbach.
Parliamentary state secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance, 2015–2018
In 2015, Spahn became Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance under minister Wolfgang Schäuble in the third cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel. At the ministry, he oversaw the German government's annual budget. He was in charge of representing Germany in the negotiations on the annual budget of the European Union.
Federal Minister of Health, 2018–2021
In the fourth Merkel cabinet, Spahn was appointed Federal Minister of Health in March 2018, succeeding Hermann Gröhe. In addition, he chaired the EPP Health Ministers Meeting, which gathers the center-right EPP ministers ahead of meetings of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO). When Germany held the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2020, he chaired the meetings of EPSCO.
Global health In 2019, Spahn visited four countries in sub-Saharan Africa to witness up close the fight against Ebola. Alongside Armin Laschet, he was invited by President Emmanuel Macron of France to attend the 2020 Bastille Day celebrations in Paris, in a sign of gratitude for their role in helping French citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic in France. As a representative of the German government, he was later part of the delegation accompanying Macron on his state visit to South Africa in May 2021.
Covid-19 pandemic On 20 October 2020, Spahn stated on morning TV: ‘At least we know what the main causes of [COVID-19] infection are. Parties, social occasions, at home and in private or at events, when going to clubs.’ Der Spiegel magazine later revealed that, on the very same evening, Spahn met around a dozen CDU party donors for a business dinner at an associate's house. According to the German news channel ntv, each guest was asked to donate €10,000 (£8,600) to take part. Spahn developed symptoms and tested positive the next day, which suggests he was infectious while attending the party.
In March 2021, the "Burda mask deal" caused a major political storm when it was revealed that the Burda company had delivered half a million medical masks to the Spahn-led Federal Ministry of Health for $4.50 each, without the Ministry having first put the deal out to open tender. Burda, of which Spahn's husband, Daniel Funke, was the former editor-in-chief and lobbyist at the time of the deal, reportedly procured the protective masks for $1.73 each through a Singapore company. According to polls, the CDU/CSU coalition's popularity fell from 35 percent to 27 percent following the "Burda mask deal".
Deputy Chair of CDU/CSU Group, 2021–present
Since December 2021, Spahn has been serving as one his parliamentary group's deputy chairs, under the leadership of successive chairs Ralph Brinkhaus (2021–2022) and Friedrich Merz (2022–present). In this capacity, he oversees the group’s legislative activities on economic affairs and climate protection.
In the negotiations to form a coalition government of the CDU and Green Party under Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia Hendrik Wüst following the 2022 state elections, Spahn led his party's delegation in the working group on economic affairs, energy and climate protection; his co-chair from the Green Party was Mona Neubaur.
An economic liberal and openly gay Roman Catholic, Spahn has combined a platform of lower taxes and less red tape with support for same-sex marriage. In 2012, he and twelve other CDU/CSU MPs united in their call for defending tax-law equality for couples registered in a civil union. In a public vote in June 2012, he pushed for such legislation as well as to open marriage to same-sex partners, but the bill was denied by his own party and eventually defeated. By 2013, Spahn and others considered signing on to a "group petition," in which they would publicly side with the opposition on expanding the rights of registered same-sex partnerships to include all the tax benefits given to married heterosexual couples. As health minister, he introduced a law in 2019 to ban conversion therapy on under-18s, or coercing, deceiving or threatening anyone older into such treatment. Violators can be punished by up to a year in prison, while advertising or offering conversion therapy carry a fine of up to 30,000 euros.
During the European migrant crisis, Spahn emerged as a vocal critic of Chancellor Angela Merkel's refugee policy, arguing that their party had "perhaps put too much emphasis on the humanitarian approach".
In April 2008, Spahn voiced his opposition to grand coalition plans to increase pensions because such a "gift" to the "medium and long-term retirees" would cost a "lot of money". He particularly criticized the arbitrary intervention of federal labour minister Olaf Scholz in the form of a surprise announcement on pensions formula.
This statement brought him strong criticism, especially from the Senior Citizens Union (Senioren-Union). Spahn received many insults and threats in the form of anonymous letters, inter alia, and complained of this in the media. The Senior Citizens Union announced it would do everything to prevent his re-election, but Spahn received the support of former president of Germany Roman Herzog.
After the 2013 federal elections, Spahn criticized the coalition pact between CDU/CSU and the SPD for making too many concessions to the SPD on lowering the retirement age from 67 to 63 for some workers.
In November 2018, Spahn called for Childless Tax where Childless people should be paying much more towards care and pension insurance than those who have started a family.
As part of coalition negotiations, Spahn and others succeeded in bringing "core demands for a black and yellow health policy" against the opinion of some like Rolf Koschorrek, in the form of a rearrangement of the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). In order to do so, they asked for a "realignment at the top of the house staff". This is because the coalition agreement says that "the work of the IGWiG is checked" and "its decisions are respected". This came at a time when Peter Sawicki, the institute's director, had repeatedly voiced his opposition to the introduction of new medicine. Journalist Markus Grill wrote about "Operation Hippocrates", an alleged plot to replace Sawicki with a more pharmaceutical industry-friendly candidate.
During his time in office, the German government introduced measure to make measles vaccinations mandatory for children and employees of kindergartens and schools.
In 2021, Spahn publicly called for Germany to reduce its over-reliance on China in many areas and to do more to diversify its export markets by sealing and finalising more trade deals with other countries and regions such as Canada.
- Sparkasse Westmünsterland, member of the supervisory board (2009–2015)
- Mosaiques Diagnostics und Therapeutics AG, member of the supervisory board (2010–2012)
- Signal Iduna Pensionskasse AG, member of the supervisory board (2005–2010)
- Barmenia Insurances, member of the advisory board (2005–2008)
- German Forum for Crime Prevention (DFK), ex-officio member of the board of trustees (2018–2021)
- World Economic Forum (WEF), member of the Europe Policy Group (since 2017)
- Deutsche AIDS-Stiftung, member of the board of trustees
- Jugend gegen AIDS, member of the advisory board
- Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), member
- FernUniversität Hagen, member of the Parliamentary Advisory Board
- Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation, Member of the board of trustees
- Federal Cultural Foundation, member of the board of trustees
- Atlantik-Brücke, member
- Catholic Workers Movement (KAB), member
- Humanitarian Aid Foundation for Persons infected with HIV through blood products (HIV Foundation), chairman of the board (since 2018)
- German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU), member of the board of trustees (2015–2018)
When Der Spiegel investigated corruption claims over Spahn's financial activities — involving property he had acquired privately as well as deals he had made with PPE suppliers as health minister — Spahn demanded journalists’ names and attempted in court cases to prevent the media from publishing exact figures and details.
Spahn is a self-described Roman Catholic although he has problems with the Catholic Church and its sexual morality. He lives with his husband Daniel Funke, a German journalist and lobbyist, in Berlin's Schöneberg district. In December 2017, the two married in a civil ceremony at Borbeck Palace in Essen, officiated by the city's mayor Thomas Kufen. In an article of Süddeutsche Zeitung in July 2012, his homosexuality was mentioned for the first time. He is an honorary member of FC Bayern Munich.
- Jens Spahn, Olaf Köhne, Peter Käfferlein: Wir werden einander viel verzeihen müssen: Wie die Pandemie uns verändert hat – und was sie uns für die Zukunft lehrt. Innenansichten einer Krise. Heyne September 2022, ISBN 978-3-453-21844-4.
- ^ Knight, Ben (26 February 2018). "Angela Merkel's new coalition 'won't address lobbying in Germany'". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
- ^ "Merz will CDU-Chef werden: "Wir brauchen in der Union Aufbruch und Erneuerung"". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). ISSN 0174-4909. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
- ^ a b Connolly, Kate (7 December 2018). "Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer elected Merkel's successor as CDU leader". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
- ^ SPIEGEL, DER (25 February 2020). ""Es kann nur einen Parteichef geben" – DER SPIEGEL – Politik". Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 29 February 2020.
- ^ SPIEGEL, DER (16 January 2021). "Armin Laschet zum neuen CDU-Vorsitzenden gewählt". Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 20 June 2021.
- ^ Welle (www.dw.com), Deutsche, Merkels Getreuer – Armin Laschet ist neuer CDU-Chef | DW | 16 January 2021 (in German), retrieved 20 June 2021
- ^ Lohse, Eckart; Berlin. "Machtkampf mit Markus Söder: CDU-Vorstand deutlich für Laschet als Kanzlerkandidat". FAZ.NET (in German). ISSN 0174-4909. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
- ^ Jens Spahn, Lebenslauf https://www.jens-spahn.de/profil Archived 29 October 2021 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ (www.dw.com), Deutsche Welle. "Germany's new health minister Jens Spahn: Young, conservative and ambitious | DW | 26 February 2018". DW.COM. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- ^ a b Stefan Wagstyl (7 December 2014), Political upstart challenges Germany's greying leaders Financial Times.
- ^ Stefan Wagstyl (9 December 2014), Merkel eyes relief for German taxpayers Financial Times.
- ^ Oltermann, Philip (28 August 2016). "Jens Spahn: the man who could replace Merkel as chancellor". Retrieved 8 December 2018 – via www.theguardian.com.
- ^ Rinke, Paul Carrel (19 January 2018). "Slowly, Germany begins to ponder life after Merkel". Reuters. Retrieved 8 December 2018 – via www.reuters.com.
- ^ "Ergebnisse Bundestagswahl 2009 im Wahlkreis Steinfurt I – Borken I". Archived from the original on 11 January 2014.
- ^ "Stiftung für die Rechte zukünftiger Generationen – Generationengerechtigkeit". Retrieved 8 December 2018.
- ^ Quentin Ariès (15 November 2015), A grim conclusion to EU budget talks Politico Europe.
- ^ Council of the EU and Ministerial meetings European People's Party (EPP).
- ^ Guy Chazan (4 November 2019), Hyperactive German minister revels in Merkel succession spotlight Financial Times.
- ^ Maximilian Plück (14 July 2020), Zeremonie in Paris: Macron lädt Laschet und Spahn zum Nationalfeiertag ein Rheinische Post.
- ^ Initiative für Impfstoff-Produktion in Afrika: Spahn reist nach Südafrika RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland, 27 May 2021.
- ^ SPIEGEL, Sven Becker, DER (26 February 2021). "Jens Spahn und Corona: Der Minister und das Unternehmerdinner". Der Spiegel.
- ^ "Jens Spahn: Gesundheitsministerium soll Masken bei Firma gekauft haben, bei der sein Ehemann angestellt ist". www.fr.de (in German). 23 March 2021. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
- ^ CDU-Fraktion: Unmut über Ansprüche ehemaliger Minister Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 14 December 2021.
- ^ Daniela Vates (13 December 2021), Unionsfraktion: Wenige Frauen auf herausgehobenen Posten RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland.
- ^ Maximilian Plück (30 May 2022), Koalitionsverhandlungen für Schwarz-Grün: Diese Politiker verhandeln für die CDU Rheinische Post.
- ^ Giersberg, Achim. "Vorstoß zur Homo-Ehe stößt auf Skepsis". Westfälische Nachrichten. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
- ^ Endgültiges Ergebnis der Namentlichen Abstimmung Nr. 3, 187. Sitzung des Deutschen Bundestages am 28 June 2012.
- ^ Same-Sex Marriage Debate: Rogue Conservatives Mull Pro-Gay Petition Der Spiegel, 11 March 2013.
- ^ Rachel Savage (4 November 2019), German health minister submits law banning conversion therapy Reuters.
- ^ Michelle Martin (20 March 2016), Merkel ally says Germany has changed course in refugee crisis Reuters.
- ^ Stefan Braun (30 March 2008). ""Du Rotzlöffel" – Erlebnisse eines Rentnerkritikers". Retrieved 24 November 2010.
- ^ "Wenn die Alten zornig werden, Die Welt, 5 April 2008". Retrieved 8 December 2018.
- ^ Brian Parkin (9 December 2013), Merkel Faces Dissent From Party Ranks Over SPD Coalition Accord Bloomberg.
- ^ "German minister says childless people should pay more tax | DW | 09.11.2018". Deutsche Welle.
- ^ Grill, Markus (15 March 2010). "AFFÄREN: Operation Hippokrates". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 8 December 2018 – via Spiegel Online.
- ^ Germany introducing mandatory measles vaccination for kids Associated Press, 17 July 2019.
- ^ Michael Nienaber (17 November 2021), Germany must reduce its dependence on China - health minister Reuters.
- ^ "Suche nach Sparkasse Westmünsterland: Jahresabschluss zum Geschäftsjahr vom 01.01.2009 bis zum 31.12.2009". Elektronischer Bundesanzeiger. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
- ^ Board of Trustees German Forum for Crime Prevention (DFK).
- ^ Europe Policy Group World Economic Forum.
- ^ Advisory Board Archived 9 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine Jugend gegen AIDS.
- ^ Members Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS).
- ^ Mitglieder mehrerer Gremien gewählt Bundestag, press release of 2 June 2022.
- ^ "The rapid fall of Germany's health minister". The Spectator.
- ^ Jost Müller-Neuhof (24 November 2020). "Trotz Klagen des Ministers: Grundbuchamt nennt Kaufpreis für Spahns Millionen-Villa in Berlin-Dahlem". tagesspiegel.de (in German). Retrieved 25 November 2020.
- ^ Jost Müller-Neuhof (24 February 2021). "Wegen Recherchen zu Immobiliengeschäften: Spahn lässt offenbar Journalisten ausforschen". tagesspiegel.de (in German). Retrieved 24 February 2021.
- ^ LG Hamburg, Urteil vom 30.10.2020 - 324 O 349/20
- ^ "Jens Spahn: Hadere mit der Kirche und ihrer Sexualmoral". katholisch.de (in German). Retrieved 20 June 2021.
- ^ "Daniel Funke kressköpfe – Detail: kress.de". kress.de. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
- ^ Online, FOCUS. "Konservativ, katholisch, schwul: Jens Spahn ist der Shootingstar der CDU". FOCUS Online. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
- ^ Kati Degenhardt (23 December 2017), Merkels bester Mann: Jens Spahn hat heimlich geheiratet BILD.
- ^ "CDU". stern.de. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
- ^ Bohsem, Guido (12 July 2012). "Ein Mann wie eine Walze". Retrieved 8 December 2018 – via Sueddeutsche.de.
- ^ SPIEGEL, DER (18 November 2012). ""Meine Art zu lieben"". Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 20 June 2021.
- Media related to Jens Spahn at Wikimedia Commons
- Quotations related to Jens Spahn at Wikiquote
- Official website (in German)
- Official Bundestag biography (in German)
- Lebenslauf bei der CDU/CSU-Bundestagsfraktion (in German)
- Jens Spahn at Abgeordnetenwatch (in German)
- 1980 births
- Gay politicians
- German Roman Catholics
- LGBT conservatism
- LGBT members of the Bundestag
- LGBT government ministers
- LGBT Roman Catholics
- Living people
- Members of the Bundestag for North Rhine-Westphalia
- People from Ahaus
- University of Hagen alumni
- German LGBT politicians
- Members of the Bundestag 2017–2021
- Health ministers of Germany
- Members of the Bundestag 2021–2025
- Members of the Bundestag 2013–2017
- Members of the Bundestag 2009–2013
- Members of the Bundestag 2005–2009
- Members of the Bundestag 2002–2005
- Members of the Bundestag for the Christian Democratic Union of Germany