German Finance Minister (2005 - 2009)

Peer Steinbrück looks back on a long political career, including 18 years of experience in government at federal and state level. He is regarded as a friend of clear words and in the course of his political career has not only earned the respect of his party friends, but also that of his political opponents.

Peer Steinbrück Lecture topics:

  • Cracks in the foundation. What is becoming of our society?
  • The relationship between state and market. Lessons from the financial market crisis.
  • On the brink: How can Germany make the necessary changes?
  • The crisis as a caesura: Rules for global capitalism.
  • How dangerous are the global imbalances for Germany?
  • Political disenchantment and media crisis – dangers for our democracy?

After graduating from high school, Peer Steinbrück (born 1947) studied economics and social sciences at the Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel. In 1969 he joined the SPD and between 1976 and 1986 held various posts in federal and state ministries, the Federal Chancellery in Bonn and the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany in East Berlin. Until 1990, Steinbrück heads the office of the Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia, Johannes Rau. After three years as State Secretary, he takes over the Ministry of Economics in Schleswig-Holstein and moves back to NRW in 1998, where he becomes Finance Minister in 2000 and Minister President in 2002. From 2005 to 2009 Steinbrück is Federal Minister of Finance in the Grand Coalition in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet as well as Deputy Chairman of the SPD. From 2009 he is a member of the German Bundestag, but renounces his membership of the 18th German Bundestag and leaves the Bundestag on 1 October 2016. As a member of the Bundestag, he is also Chairman of the Parliamentary Group USA in the German Bundestag and a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. He is the SPD’s candidate for Chancellor in the 2013 Bundestag elections. After his departure from big politics, Peer Steinbrück concentrates on his work for the Helmut Schmidt Foundation, which he helped to establish, and becomes an advisor to the Executive Board at ING-DiBa.

During his time as Federal Minister of Finance, Peer Steinbrück proves himself as a crisis manager who takes responsibility in the context of financial and economic crises and also makes unpopular decisions to minimise the negative consequences.

One of his achievements as Federal Minister of Finance is the introduction of the lifelong tax identification number, which has been discussed for many years and is allocated to every resident of Germany. A passionate chess player, he is considered eloquent and direct and is not afraid to stir up controversy with striking statements. He has succeeded in this, among other things, when he publicly pilloried Switzerland for the banking secrecy that prevails there or questioned the pension guarantee decided by the Grand Coalition.

Peer Steinbrück is comfortable on the big stage. He is a charismatic and gifted speaker and like no one else in German politics he has the talent to speak pointedly and eloquently about complicated contexts. His expertise in financial matters is undisputed and still in demand.