Hans-Gert Pöttering

Hans-Gert Pöttering (born 15 September 1945) is a German lawyer, historian and conservative politician (CDU, European People's Party), who served as President of the European Parliament from January 2007 to July 2009 and as Chairman of the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation from 2010 to 2017.

Hans-Gert Pöttering
Pöttering in 2014
President of the European Parliament
In office
16 January 2007  14 July 2009
Vice PresidentRodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou
Preceded byJosep Borrell
Succeeded byJerzy Buzek
Leader of the European People's Party-European Democrats
In office
20 July 1999  16 January 2007
Preceded byWilfried Martens
Succeeded byJoseph Daul
Member of the European Parliament
for Germany
In office
17 July 1979  30 June 2014
Chairman of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation
Assumed office
1 January 2010
Preceded byBernhard Vogel
Personal details
Born (1945-09-15) 15 September 1945 (age 75)
Bersenbrück, Allied-occupied Germany
Political partyChristian Democratic Union
ResidenceBad Iburg, Germany
Alma materUniversity of Bonn
University of Geneva
Graduate Institute of International Studies
Columbia University
WebsiteOfficial website

He served as a Member of the European Parliament continuously since the first elections in 1979 until 2014 and was Chairman of the European People's Party-European Democrats 1999–2007. When he stepped down in 2014 he was the European Parliament's longest-serving member. As president of the European Parliament he proposed the creation of the House of European History museum in Brussels.

Early life and education

Pöttering never got to know his father who was killed in action during the last days of the Second World War. After Abitur and military service, he studied law, political science and history at the University of Bonn, the University of Geneva, the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva and at Columbia University in New York. He took his first state exam in jurisprudence in 1973, earned a PhD in political science and history in 1974 with a dissertation on West German defense policy in the 1950s and 1960s and took his second state exam in jurisprudence in 1976, fully qualifying as an attorney.

Political career

Member of the European Parliament, 1979–2014

Pöttering was a member of the European Parliament from 1979 until 2014, by the end of this period he was the only member of the European Parliament to have served continuously since the first elections.

From 1984 to 1994 Pöttering was chairman of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence. From 1994 to 1996 he chaired the working group on the Intergovernmental Conference of the European People's Party (EPP) and EPP-ED Group, the results of which became the official EPP position for the Treaty of Amsterdam.

In 1994 Pöttering became Vice-President of the EPP, and from 1999 to 2007 he was the Chairman of the EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament. He was the top candidate of the CDU in the 2004 and the 2009 European elections.

Together with Volker Hassemer he is a member of the advisory board of the pro-European initiative "A Soul for Europe". He was a member of the Reconciliation of European Histories Group.[1]

President of the European Parliament, 2007–2009

As part of a deal with the socialist group, it was agreed that he would succeed Josep Borrell Fontelles as President of the European Parliament in the second part of the 2004–2009 term, which he did on 16 January 2007. He was elected with 450 of 689 valid votes, and defeated Italian Green Monica Frassoni, Danish Eurosceptic Jens-Peter Bonde and French Communist Francis Wurtz.

As President of the European Parliament he initiated the House of European History project. He made reference to the House in his inaugural speech in 2007.[2] For many years he is serving as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the House of European History in Brussels.

Later career

On 4 December 2009 Pöttering was elected Chairman of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation from 1 January 2010; he was succeeded by Norbert Lammert in 2018.

When the EPP membership of Hungarian party Fidesz was suspended in 2019, EPP president Joseph Daul appointed Pöttering – alongside Herman van Rompuy and Wolfgang Schüssel – to a group of high-level experts who were mandated to monitor Fidesz's compliance with EPP values.[3][4]

Political positions

Pöttering is known as an enthusiastic European Federalist and an ally of Angela Merkel. He has stated that his priority will be to rejuvenate the European Constitution.

In February 2020, Pöttering joined around fifty former European prime ministers and foreign ministers in signing an open letter published by British newspaper The Guardian to condemn U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan, saying it would create an apartheid-like situation in occupied Palestinian territory.[5]


National honours

Foreign honours


Honorary degrees

Other activities

Personal life

Pöttering lives in Bad Iburg, Germany. He is Roman Catholic, divorced and has two sons.[10]


  • Adenauers Sicherheitspolitik 1955–1963. Ein Beitrag zum deutsch-amerikanischen Verhältnis, Droste Verlag 1975, ISBN 3-7700-0412-4
  • Europas Vereinigte Staaten, Editio Interfrom 2000, ISBN 3-7201-5237-5, with Ludger Kühnhardt
  • Weltpartner Europäische Union, Edition Interfrom 2001, ISBN 3-7201-5252-9, with Ludger Kühnhardt
  • Kontinent Europa. Kern, Übergänge, Grenzen, Edition Interfrom 2002, ISBN 3-7201-5276-6, zusammen mit Ludger Kühnhardt
  • Von der Vision zur Wirklichkeit. Auf dem Weg zur Einigung Europas, Bouvier 2004, ISBN 3-416-03053-2