Schäuble, Wolfgang

Schäuble, Wolfgang vôlfˈgäng shīˈblə [key], 1942–, German political leader. He studied law and economics at the Univ. of Freiburg and the Univ. of Hamburg and then worked as a tax lawyer (1971–84). A member of the conservative Christian Democratic Union, he was first elected to the West German Bundestag in 1972. Under Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Schäuble served as minister for special affairs and chief of staff (1984–89) and then as interior minister (1989–91); in the latter post, he negotiated the reunification of East and West Germany (1990). During the 1990 election campaign, Schäuble was shot in the back in an assassination attempt, and has been confined to a wheelchair since. In 1998 he succeeded Kohl as CDU leader, but resigned in 2000 following a party finance scandal. Under Chancellor Angela Merkel, he has served as interior minister (2005–9) and then finance minister (2009–17). An proponent of European unity but also a strong fiscal conservative, he was a prominent austerity advocate during the euro crisis and the Greek bailout negotiations of 2015. In 2017 he was elected president of the Bundestag.

See biography by H. P. Schutz (2011).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: German History: Biographies