Dirk Niebel

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Dirk Niebel
Dirk Niebel 1c399 0357.jpg
Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development
In office
28 October 2009 – 17 December 2013
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Preceded by Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul
Succeeded by Gerd Müller
Personal details
Born (1963-03-29) 29 March 1963 (age 59)
Hamburg, Germany
Nationality German
Political party Free Democratic Party (Germany)
Website dirk-niebel.de

Dirk Niebel (born 29 March 1963) is a German politician. From 2009 to 2013 he has served as Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development. From 2005 to 2009, he was secretary general of the FDP.


Niebel was born in Hamburg on 29 March 1963. After his Fachhochschulreife (college entrance qualification) in 1983, Niebel lived for one year in a Kibbutz in Israel. Later he served for eight years as an airborne infantry noncommissioned officer in the Bundeswehr in Calw. He then studied at the German College of Public Administration in Mannheim and finished his studies in 1993 as Diplom-Verwaltungswirt (similar to a Master of Public Administration degree). From 1993 to 1998, he worked at an employment bureau in Sinsheim, a part of the Federal Employment Office of Heidelberg.

Niebel is married and has three sons.

Political career

Dirk Niebel speaking in Göttingen

In 1977, Niebel joined the Junge Union, and in 1979, the CDU. He left both in 1981.

In 1990, he joined the FDP and was co-founder of the Heidelberg division of the Junge Liberale. Since 2003 Niebel has been a member of the Federal Board of the FDP and of the curatorship of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. On 5 May 2005, the Federal Board elected him secretary general of the FDP with 92.4% of the votes.

Niebel has been a member of the Bundestag since 1998. From 2002 to 2005, he was chairman of the State group of Baden-Württemberg in the parliamentary group of the FDP. Since 1998, he has been the speaker of the parliamentary group on Labor Policy. In addition to this, Niebel has been a member of the group of German-Israeli parliament members since 1998. At the 2009 election, he stood unsuccessfully in the single member constituency of Heidelberg, but was elected from the land list.

From 2000 to 2010, Niebel served as the vice president of the Deutsch-Israelische Gesellschaft (German Israeli Society).

In January 2011, Niebel met with Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and signed a joint Declaration of Intent aimed to increase bilateral cooperation in effort to assist developing nations, agreeing to work towards the rehabilitation of the contaminated Lake Victoria in Kenya, the main source of water for several states and one of the sources of the Nile River.[1] In February of the same year Ayalon and Niebel met again to examine aid to the new Republic of South Sudan.[2]

Main Viewpoint

Niebel advocates a radical reform of the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit). According to him, it should only manage and pay out the Unemployment insurance.[3]

Flying carpet affair

In June 2012, Dirk Niebel attracted controversy after he had a carpet flown home from Afghanistan for free. The Afghan rug weighed 30 kilos and was flown on an intelligence service plane, avoiding import tax. The ministry said the transportation from Kabul to Berlin on the jet of the chief of the secret service was done as "a personal favour". The centre-left opposition accused the minister of "brazen abuse" of office, which risked undermining Germany's efforts to promote good governance in countries like Afghanistan.[4][5][6]

Hiring affair

On 2 May 2012 the German TV magazine "Monitor" reported that since Niebel took the office of Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development over 40 members or staff of the FDP have been hired to work in his ministry.[7]


  1. Eichner, Itamar (1 February 2011). "Israel, Germany to save Lake Victoria".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "DFM Ayalon met with German Min. Niebel; attended Munich Security Conference". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Nicht noch mehr Bürokraten! - Niebels Woche - Der FDP-Generalsekretär begleitet im Netz die Große Koalition at the Wayback Machine (archived February 2, 2007)
  4. "Minister hits turbulence over flying carpet affair". The Local. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "German minister under fire for Afghanistan carpet flight". Telegraph. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "German minister chided for flying carpet from Kabul". GEO TV. Retrieved 5 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "ARD-Magazin MONITOR: Niebel-Ministerium stellte deutlich mehr FDP-Leute ein als bislang bekannt | Pressemitteilung ARD Das Erste". Presseportal.de. 2013-05-30. Retrieved 2013-12-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links