Rolf Mützenich

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Rolf Mützenich
Mützenich in 2020
Leader of the Social Democratic Party
in the Bundestag
Assumed office
4 June 2019
Acting: 4 June 2019 – 24 September 2019
Chief WhipCarsten Schneider (until 2021)
Katja Mast (since 2021)
Preceded byAndrea Nahles
Member of the Bundestag
Assumed office
22 September 2002
Preceded byKonrad Gilges
ConstituencyCologne III
Personal details
Rolf Heinrich Mützenich

(1959-06-25) 25 June 1959 (age 64)
Cologne, West Germany
Political partySocial Democratic Party
Alma materUniversity of Bremen

Rolf Heinrich Mützenich (born 25 June 1959) is a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) who has been serving as chairman of the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag since June 2019.

Early life and education[edit]

Mützenich was born 1959 in Cologne and studied political science and history at the University of Bremen and earned his PhD in 1991.

Early career[edit]

After completing his doctorate, Mützenich joined the State Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of North Rhine-Westphalia. From 1993 he worked as a research assistant for the SPD parliamentary group in the State Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia until he returned to the State Ministry of Social Affairs in 1998, under the leadership of minister Ilse Brusis. From 2001 to 2002 he served as chief of staff to the President of the North Rhine-Westphalian State Parliament, Ulrich Schmidt.

Political career[edit]

Mützenich entered in the SPD in 1975. He has been a member of the German Bundestag since the 2002 national elections, representing Cologne. From 2002 until 2013, he served on the Committee on Foreign Affairs. He was also a member of the Subcommittee on Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation from 2006 until 2009.

In addition to his committee assignments, Mützenich has in the past chaired the German Iranian Parliamentary Friendship Group (2006–2009) and the German-Japanese Parliamentary Friendship Group (2010–2013).

Within the SPD parliamentary group, Mützenich belongs to the Parliamentary Left, a left-wing movement.[1] He has been part of internal working groups on the Middle East (2005–2009) and Afghanistan and Pakistan (2009–2013). From 2009 until 2013, he served as the group's spokesperson on foreign policy. He later became deputy chairman of the parliamentary group under the leadership of successive chairpersons Thomas Oppermann (2013–2017) and Andrea Nahles (2017–2019).

In the negotiations to form a coalition government under the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel following the 2017 federal elections, Mützenich was part of the working group on foreign policy, led by Ursula von der Leyen, Gerd Müller and Sigmar Gabriel.

In June 2019, Mützenich became acting chairman of the SPD parliamentary group after the startling demission of Andrea Nahles.[2]

Editorial writers saw Mützenich as chairman responsible for scaring away several qualified candidates for the position of secretary of defense in the Scholz cabinet, like Fritz Felgentreu[3] and Hans-Peter Bartels,[4] which led to Christine Lambrecht ending up in the position after the 2021 elections.[5]

Other activities[edit]

Political positions[edit]

Over the years, Mützenich has been a vocal critic of the deployment of German forces in Afghanistan.[11]

In 2015, Mützenich criticized SPD "rapprochement romantics" in Germany's relationship with Russia and warned against the "misconception that old-style Ostpolitik was possible following the annexation of Crimea."[12] In 2018, he was one of the most important critics of the decision made by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to expel four Russian diplomats over the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, describing that the expulsion as “too hasty“ and saying there was still no conclusive proof that the Russian government was behind the poisoning.[13]

When Germany entered the process of phasing out its aging fleet of Tornado fighter jets to fulfill its nuclear sharing obligations with the U.S., Mützenich called for an American nuclear withdrawal in a 2020 interview with newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. According to Mützenich, "nuclear weapons on German territory do not heighten our security, just the opposite", especially during the presidency of Donald Trump.[14]


  1. ^ Members Parlamentarische Linke.
  2. ^ "Was von Rolf Mützenich als SPD-Fraktionschef zu erwarten ist".
  3. ^ "SPD-Wehrexperte Felgentreu legt Amt nieder".
  4. ^ "Krieg und Frieden in der SPD".
  5. ^ "Qualifikation – nicht nötig".
  6. ^ Bernd Westphal und Anke Rehlinger koordinieren neu konstituierten Politischen Beirat des SPD-Wirtschaftsforums Business Forum of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, press release of 1 July 2020.
  7. ^ Governance Friedrich Ebert Foundation.
  8. ^ Board of Trustees Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG).
  9. ^ Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik Springer Nature.
  10. ^ Board of Trustees Development and Peace Foundation (SEF).
  11. ^ Rachel Morarjee and Richard Milne (20 May 2007), Attacks threaten Berlin’s Afghan support Financial Times.
  12. ^ Patrick Wintour, Luke Harding and Julian Borger (24 October 2016), Cold war 2.0: how Russia and the west reheated a historic struggle The Guardian.
  13. ^ Guy Chazan (27 March 2018), German politicians divided over expulsion of Russian diplomats Financial Times.
  14. ^ Matthew Karnitschnig (3 May 2020), German Social Democrats tell Trump to take US nukes home Politico Europe.

External links[edit]

Media related to Rolf Mützenich at Wikimedia Commons

Party political offices
Preceded by Leader of the Social Democratic Party in the Bundestag