Hans-Peter Friedrich

Hans-Peter Friedrich
Vice President of the Bundestag
(on proposal of the CDU/CSU group)
Assumed office
24 October 2017
Preceded by Johannes Singhammer
Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture
In office
17 December 2013  17 February 2014
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Preceded by Ilse Aigner
Succeeded by Christian Schmidt
Federal Minister of the Interior
In office
3 March 2011  17 December 2013
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Preceded by Thomas de Maizière
Succeeded by Thomas de Maizière
First Deputy Leader of the CDU/CSU Group in the Bundestag
In office
28 October 2009  3 March 2011
Leader Volker Kauder
Preceded by Peter Ramsauer
Succeeded by Gerda Hasselfeldt
Member of the Bundestag
for Hof
Assumed office
17 October 2002
Preceded by Petra Ernstberger
Member of the Bundestag
for Bavaria
In office
26 October 1998  17 October 2002
Constituency Party-list proportional representation
Personal details
Born (1957-03-10) 10 March 1957
Naila, West Germany
Political party Christian Social Union
Children 3
Alma mater University of Augsburg

Hans-Peter Friedrich (born 10 March 1957) is a German politician, representative of the Christian Social Union (CSU). On 3 March 2011 he succeeded Thomas de Maizière as Federal Minister of the Interior[1] and held this ministry until 17 December 2013 when he was appointed Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture. Friedrich resigned from that position in February 2014. Friedrich has a controversial history with minorities in Germany, causing outrage in 2013 after telling journalists that Islam in Germany is not something supported by history at any point.[2]

Early life and education

Born in 1957 in Naila, near the northern Bavarian town of Hof, Friedrich has a PhD in law and also studied economics. From 1990 to 1991, Friedrich worked in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and the economy department of the Germany Embassy in Washington, D.C.[3]

Political career

Early career

Friedrich began his national political career as an aide to Michael Glos, a senior CSU official in parliament.[4]

Friedrich has been a member of the Bundestag since the 1998 federal elections,.[4] He was deputy chairman of the investigating committee for party donations from 1999 until 2002 and for electoral fraud from 2002 until 2004. From 2002 until 2005 he was also judicial counselor of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group.

Following the 2005 federal elections, when his party joined a Grand Coalition with Angela Merkel as Chancellor, Friedrich became deputy chairman of the parliamentary group under the leadership of Volker Kauder, covering the portfolio of housing and development.[5] Between 2007 and 2009, he was one of 32 members of the Second Commission on the modernization of the federal state, which had been established to reform the division of powers between federal and state authorities in Germany.

In the negotiations to form a coalition government following the 2009 federal elections, Friedrich led the CDU/CSU delegation in the working group on transport and building policies; his co-chair from the FDP was Patrick Döring.

From 2009, Friedrich led the CSU in parliament, replacing Peter Ramsauer. During that time, he was said to have enjoyed a good relationship with Merkel and to have often sided with national interests over Bavarian ones.[3] Economic policy was widely seen as his passion as he has supported raising the retirement age to 67 despite opposition from CSU leader Horst Seehofer.[3] He also played a behind-the-scenes part in crafting Germany's response to the euro zone crisis.[3]

Federal Minister of the Interior, 2011-2013

On 3 March 2011 Friedrich succeeded Thomas de Maizière as Federal Minister of the Interior[1] who replaced Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. The fact that Friedrich, like Guttenberg, came from the northern Bavarian area of Upper Franconia meant that his appointment ensured the regional balance of power within the CSU was maintained.[3]

On the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the diplomatic relations between German and India, Friedrich participated in the first joint cabinet meeting of the two countries’ governments in Delhi in May 2011.[6] On 7 June 2011 he attended the state dinner hosted by President Barack Obama in honor of Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House.[7]

European integration

In early 2012, Friedrich became Chancellor Angela Merkel’s first Cabinet member to suggest Greece’s exit from the euro. In an interview with Der Spiegel, he said Greece would have better chances of overhauling its economy and restoring growth if it left the euro area.[8]

In late 2012, Friedrich called for the immediate suspension of the visa-free regime for Serbia and Macedonia after more than 7,000 citizens of the two countries applied for asylum in Germany within one year.[9]


In the wake of the US National Security Agency's (NSA) internet surveillance scandal around PRISM in 2013, Friedrich was long perceived as not particularly devoted to investigating the full scope of NSA spying activities in Germany.[10] Instead, he defended the NSA's methods and promptly demanded legislation changes, in order to be able to expand surveillance of communication traffic by the German Bundesnachrichtendienst as well.[11] In an effort to point out how valuable information provided by the NSA can be for Germany, he argued that forty-five terror attacks had been prevented by the Prism program, including five in Germany; however, he soon back-peddled, unable to pinpoint the five instances.[12] In a later interview with Münchner Merkur newspaper, Friedrich held that Edward Snowden was not a victim of political persecution.[13]

Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, 2013

In the negotiations to form a so-called Grand Coalition following the 2013 federal elections, Friedrich led the CDU/CSU delegation in the working group on internal affairs and justice; his co-chair from the SPD was Thomas Oppermann.

Friedrich was sworn in as Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture in the third cabinet of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel on 17 December 2013. He resigned on 14 February 2014,[14] reacting to imminent legal investigations into incidents during his tenure as Federal Minister of the Interior. He is accused of betraying state secrets about legal investigations into Social Democrat Party (SPD) heads during the coalition negotiations after the federal elections in 2013. Prosecutors complained that the leak may have compromised their inquiry.[15] The investigations showed MP Sebastian Edathy's link to a globally-operating child pornography syndicate,[16] and plans to take up an investigation against Edathy on suspicion of possessing such material.[14]

Other activities

Corporate boards

  • Friedrich-Baur-GmbH, Member of the Advisory Board

Non-profit organizations

Personal life

Friedrich is married with three children.[18]

See also


  1. 1 2 "Neue Minister ernannt" [New ministers appointed]. Cabinet of Germany (in German). 3 March 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  2. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/03/07/immigration-theresa-may-question-_n_2827785.html
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Erik Kirschbaum and Eric Kelsey (March 2, 2011), German ministers in cabinet reshuffle Reuters.
  4. 1 2 Daryl Lindsey (March 2, 2011), Merkel Shuffles Cabinet: German Interior Minister to Replace Guttenberg Spiegel Online.
  5. "Wechselt von der Leyen ins Gesundheitsministerium?". Hamburger Abendblatt. October 2, 2009
  6. Günther Bannas (May 30, 2011), Hoffnung auf „Eurofighter“-Geschäft: Erste deutsch-indische Regierungskonsultationen Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
  7. Expected Attendees at Tonight's State Dinner Office of the First Lady of the United States, press release of June 7, 2011.
  8. Tony Czuczka (February 25, 2012), Germany’s Friedrich Urges Greek Exit From Euro, Spiegel Says Bloomberg News.
  9. Toby Vogel (October 17, 2012), Calls to end the visa-free regime European Voice.
  10. Veit Medick and Philipp Wittrock (July 17, 2013), NSA Scandal: Merkel's Interior Minister Not Up to the Job Spiegel Online.
  11. "100-Millionen-Programm: BND will Internet-Überwachung massiv ausweiten". Spiegel Online (in German). 16 June 2013.
  12. Veit Medick and Philipp Wittrock (July 17, 2013), NSA Scandal: Merkel's Interior Minister Not Up to the Job Spiegel Online.
  13. Stefan Wagstyl and Kiran Stacey (November 5, 2013), Germany warns UK on spying Financial Times.
  14. 1 2 "German Agriculture Minister Friedrich resigns amid Edathy scandal". DW.DE. 2014-02-14. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  15. Erik Kirschbaum (February 18, 2014), Germany's Merkel convenes allies to restore confidence after scandal Reuters.
  16. "German politician Edathy rejects child porn allegation". DW.DE. 2014-02-11. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  17. "A Message from Germany" (PDF) (in Englisch). Atlantik-Brücke e.V. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  18. Hans-Peter Friedrich: A conservative minister's slow decline Deutsche Welle, February 14, 2014.
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas de Maizière
Minister of the Interior
Succeeded by
Thomas de Maizière
Preceded by
Ilse Aigner
as Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection
Minister of Food and Agriculture
Succeeded by
Christian Schmidt
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