Bettina Stark-Watzinger

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Bettina Stark-Watzinger
File:2018-05-10 Bettina Stark-Watzinger-7710.jpg
Bettina Stark-Watzinger in 2018
Minister of Education and Research
Assumed office
8 December 2021
Chancellor Olaf Scholz
Preceded by Anja Karliczek
Chairwoman of the Free Democratic Party
in Hesse
Assumed office
27 March 2021
Deputy Wiebke Knell
Thorsten Lieb
Preceded by Stefan Ruppert
Member of the German Bundestag
from Hesse
Assumed office
24 October 2017
Personal details
Born (1968-05-12) 12 May 1968 (age 54)
Frankfurt, West Germany
(now Germany)
Nationality German
Political party Free Democratic Party
Children 2
Alma mater
Occupation
  • Economist
  • politician
  • academic
  • legislator

Bettina Stark-Watzinger (née Stark,[1] born 12 May 1968) is a German economist and politician of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) who has been serving as Minister of Education and Research in Chancellor Olaf Scholz's cabinet since 2021. She has been a member of the Bundestag from the state of Hesse since 2017.[2] Since 2021, she has been the chairwoman of the FDP in Hesse.[3]

Early life and career

Stark-Watzinger graduated from high school in 1989 and subsequently studied economics at the University of Mainz and the Goethe University Frankfurt from 1989 to 1993. She graduated with a degree in economics.

From 1994 to 1996, Stark-Watzinger completed a trainee programme at BHF Bank in Frankfurt, where she worked as Regional Manager. This was followed by a six-year stay abroad in the United Kingdom from the end of 1996 to 2001,[4] where she initially worked in the financial sector again in London, and a family break. From 2006 to 2008 she worked in the Academic Manager, Finance, Accounting, Controlling and Taxation Department at the European Business School in Oestrich-Winkel. From 2008 until her election to the Bundestag in 2017, Stark-Watzinger worked as managing director in the commercial department of an interdisciplinary research institution, the Leibniz Institute for Financial Research (SAFE) at Goethe University Frankfurt.

Political career

Early beginnings

While in secondary school, Stark-Watzinger initially joined the Young Union (JU), the joint youth organisation of the two conservative German political parties, CDU and CSU.[5] She later became a member of the FDP in 2004.[6]

In 2011, Stark-Watzinger was elected to the FDP leadership in Hesse, under successive chairpersons Jörg-Uwe Hahn (2011–2014) and Stefan Ruppert (2014–2021).[7] When Ruppert became chairman, he appointed her to the position of secretary general in 2015.

Member of the German Parliament, 2017–present

Stark-Watzinger first became a member of the Bundestag in the 2017 German federal election, representing the Main-Taunus district.[8]

From 2017 until 2020, Stark-Watzinger chaired the Finance Committee.[9][10] In this capacity, she also served as her parliamentary group's rapporteur on plans for a financial transaction tax.[11]

At the end of January 2020, Stark-Watzinger was elected parliamentary manager of the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag.[12][13] In this capacity, she was a member of the parliament’s Council of Elders, which – among other duties – determines daily legislative agenda items and assigns committee chairpersons based on party representation. She also joined the Budget Committee, where she served as her parliamentary group's rapporteur on the annual budget of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. She was a member of the so-called Confidential Committee (Vertrauensgremium) of the Budget Committee, which provides budgetary supervision for Germany's three intelligence services, BND, BfV and MAD.

In addition to her committee assignments, Stark-Watzinger has been part of the German Parliamentary Friendship Group for Relations with the States of South Asia since 2018. Since 2019, she has been a member of the German delegation to the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly.

In 2021, Stark-Watzinger was elected chairwoman of the FDP in Hesse, succeeding Stefan Ruppert.[14]

In the negotiations to form a so-called traffic light coalition of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Green Party and the FDP following the 2021 German elections, Stark-Watzinger was part of her party's delegation in the leadership group, alongside Christian Lindner, Volker Wissing and Marco Buschmann.[15]

Federal Education Minister, 2021–present

Following the 2021 federal election, the FDP entered a traffic light coalition government, and Stark-Watzinger took office as Minister of Education and Research in the Scholz cabinet on 8 December 2021. In her capacity as minister, Stark-Watzinger is a member of the Joint Science Conference (GWK), a body which deals with all questions of research funding, science and research policy strategies and the science system that jointly affect Germany’s federal government and its 16 federal states.

Other activities

Personal life

Stark-Watzinger is married to real estate investor Hermann Watzinger and has two daughters.[26]

References

  1. Susanne Höll (September 15, 2017), Wer will hier rein? Süddeutsche Zeitung.
  2. "Bettina Stark-Watzinger | Abgeordnetenwatch". www.abgeordnetenwatch.de (in Deutsch). Retrieved 16 March 2020.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Ewald Hetrodt (March 28, 2021), FDP-Chefin fordert „maximale Freiheit“ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
  4. Wahlkreis 181: Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) Frankfurter Rundschau, September 16, 2009.
  5. Barbara Schmidt (August 11, 2021), Main-Taunus: Die Liberale mit der steilen Karriere Frankfurter Neue Presse.
  6. Thomas Sigmund (November 19, 2021), Die mögliche Ministerin, die kaum jemand auf dem Schirm hat Handelsblatt.
  7. Barbara Schmidt (August 11, 2021), Main-Taunus: Die Liberale mit der steilen Karriere Frankfurter Neue Presse.
  8. Hessen, F. D. P. "Bettina Stark-Watzinger". fdp-hessen.de (in Deutsch). Retrieved 16 March 2020.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Deutscher Bundestag - Finanzausschuss". Deutscher Bundestag (in Deutsch). Retrieved 16 March 2020.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Angela Wefers (January 29, 2020), Hessel löst Stark-Watzinger an der Spitze des Finanzausschusses ab Börsen-Zeitung.
  11. Christian Ramthun (June 19, 2020), Wie Scholz die Finanztransaktionsteuer noch retten will Wirtschaftswoche.
  12. "Fraktionsvorstand". Fraktion der Freien Demokraten im Deutschen Bundestag (in Deutsch). Retrieved 16 March 2020.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Stark-Watzinger ist Parlamentarische Geschäftsführerin der FDP-Bundestagsfraktion". Politik & Kommunikation (in Deutsch). Retrieved 16 March 2020.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Ewald Hetrodt (March 28, 2021), FDP-Chefin fordert „maximale Freiheit“ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
  15. Thomas Sigmund (November 19, 2021), Die mögliche Ministerin, die kaum jemand auf dem Schirm hat Handelsblatt.
  16. [1] Volkswagen Foundation, press release of 25 February 2022.
  17. Senate, as of February 2022 Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres.
  18. Bettina Stark-Watzinger German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech).
  19. Board of Trustees Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
  20. Board of Trustees Ernst Reuter Foundation for Advanced Study.
  21. Board of Trustees German Future Prize.
  22. Board of Trustees Villa Vigoni – German-Italian Centre for the European Dialogue.
  23. Board of Trustees Total E-Quality.
  24. Board Friedrich Naumann Foundation.
  25. Policy Council Leibniz Institute for Financial Research (SAFE).
  26. Thomas Sigmund (November 19, 2021), Die mögliche Ministerin, die kaum jemand auf dem Schirm hat Handelsblatt.

External links

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