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.
|President of the European Parliament|
16 January 2007 – 14 July 2009
|Vice President||Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou|
|Preceded by||Josep Borrell|
|Succeeded by||Jerzy Buzek|
|Leader of the European People's Party-European Democrats|
20 July 1999 – 16 January 2007
|Preceded by||Wilfried Martens|
|Succeeded by||Joseph Daul|
|Member of the European Parliament|
17 July 1979 – 30 June 2014
|Chairman of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation|
|Assumed office |
1 January 2010
|Preceded by||Bernhard Vogel|
|Born||15 September 1945|
Bersenbrück, Allied-occupied Germany
|Political party||Christian Democratic Union|
|Residence||Bad Iburg, Germany|
|Alma mater||University of Bonn|
University of Geneva
Graduate Institute of International Studies
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.
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.
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. For many years he is serving as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the House of European History in Brussels.
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.
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.
- Germany: Great Cross with Star and Sash of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2010)
- Austria: Grand Golden Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria (2002)
- Holy See: Grand Cross of the Papal Order of St Gregory the Great (2007)
- Croatia: Great Cross of Merit of the Grand Order of Queen Jelena with Star and Shoulder Ribbon (2007)
- Italy: 1st Class of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (2008)
- Ukraine: 2nd Class of the Order of Prince Jaroslaw the Wise (2008)
- Latvia: Grand Cross of the Order of the Three Stars (2009)
- France: Commander of the Legion of Honour (2011)
- Spain: Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit of the Kingdom of Spain (2011)
- Poland: Knight Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (2013)
- Lithuania: Commander of the Order for Merits to Lithuania (2013)
- Hungary: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic (2013)
- Estonia: 1st Class of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana (2013)
- Romania: Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Romania (2014)
- Tunisia: Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit of the Republic of Tunisia (2016)
- Robert Schuman Medal of EPP-ED (1995)
- Luxembourg: Mérite Européen Medal in Gold, Fondation du Mérite européen (2002)
- European Honorary Senator, the 'MEP of the Year 2004' by newspaper ‘European Voice’ (2004)
- Walter Hallstein Prize (2007)
- European Excellence Award of the Autonomous Community of Madrid ('Premio a la Excelencia Europea', 2008)
- Ben Gurion Medal of Ben Gurion University (2010)
- Polish-German Prize (2011)
- Doctor Honoris Causa of Babeş Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania
- Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Opole, Poland
- Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland
- Doctor Honoris Causa of the Miguel de Cervantes European University, Santiago de Chile
- Doctor Honoris Causa of Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul, Turkey
- Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Wrocław, Poland
- Doctor Honoris Causa of Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines
- Honorary Professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina
- Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Korea, Seoul
- Doctor Honoris Causa of the European Humanities University, Vilnius
- Honorary citizen of Bersenbrueck (Germany) and Opole (Poland)
- Friends of Europe, Member of the Board of Trustees
- Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, Member of the Executive Board
- 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
- "About Us – Reconciliation of European Histories Group". Reconciliation of European Histories Group. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
- "Conceptual Basis for a House of European History" (PDF). Europarl.europa.eu. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
- Maïa de La Baume and Lili Bayer (20 March 2019), EPP plans to strip Hungary’s Fidesz of membership rights: document Politico Europe.
- FIDESZ membership suspended after EPP Political Assembly European People's Party (EPP), press release of 20 March 2019.
- Grave concern about US plan to resolve Israel-Palestine conflict The Guardian, 27 February 2020.
- "Dr. Hans-Gert Pöttering". Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (in German). 16 December 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
- "Tunisia Weekly Update: Essid Presents Ten Measures to Fight Unemployment; Belhaj Resigns as President's Chief of Staff". POMED. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
- Board of Trustees[permanent dead link] Friends of Europe.
- Executive Board Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies.
- "EPP Group in the European Parliament". Eppgroup.eu. Retrieved 9 March 2019.