Maria Böhmer

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Maria Böhmer
File:Böhmer, Maria-0748.jpg
Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office
with Michael Roth (2013-present)
Assumed office
Preceded by Cornelia Pieper
Minister of State at the Federal Chancellery
In office
Succeeded by Aydan Özoğuz
Member of the Bundestag
Assumed office
Personal details
Born (1950-04-23) 23 April 1950 (age 72)
Mainz, Rhineland-Palatinate West Germany
(now Germany)
Political party Christian Democratic Union
Alma mater University of Mainz

Maria Böhmer (born 23 April 1950 in Mainz, Rhineland-Palatinate) is a German politician and member of the Bundestag for the CDU. Under the leadership of Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, she currently serves as Minister of State in the Federal Foreign Office, primarily responsible for cultural relations and education policy.

Early life and education

Born into a family of wine growers,[1] Böhmer studied mathematics, physics, political science and education. Upon receiving her Ph.D., she conducted research at the universities of Cambridge and Augsburg and gained a post-doctoral qualification in education at the University of Mainz in 1982.[2] In 1993/94, Christian Baldauf was a research associate to her.

Political career

From 1982 to 1990, Böhmer served as State Commissioner for Women in Rhineland Palatinate. Since 1990, she has been member of the Bundestag as well as of the Federal Executive Board of the CDU. From 2001, she served as Chairwoman of the Frauenunion, the CDU's women's organization.[3]

In 2003, Böhmer was part of a group assigned by then-opposition leader and CDU chairwoman Angela Merkel to draft alternative proposals for social welfare reform in response to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s "Agenda 2010". The so-called Herzog Commission – named after its chairman, former German President Roman Herzog – recommended a comprehensive package of reform proposals including, among other things, decoupling health and nursing care premiums from people’s earnings and levying a lump monthly sum across the board instead.[4]

Minister of State for Integration in the Federal Chancellery, 2005-2013

In November 2005, Böhmer joined the first cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel and became Minister of State for Integration in the Federal Chancellery and German Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration.[5] In the negotiations to form a coalition government following the 2009 federal elections, she led the CDU/CSU delegation in the working group on families, integration of immigrants and culture; her co-chair from the FDP was Hans-Joachim Otto.

In 2010, Böhmer proposed to introduce legally binding quotas to boost the low number of people with immigrant backgrounds in public sector jobs, saying it would ensure that the public service sector better mirrored the country's population; however, Germans politicians – both from Böhmer's own conservative Christian Democratic Party as well as from the center-left opposition – opposed the measure.[6] With a focus on improving the integration of the country's immigrant population, Böhmer later that year rejected the conservative MEP Markus Ferber’s call for having immigrants undergo intelligence tests before they are granted residency or citizenship rights in the country.[7] In tackling Germany's shortage of qualified workers, Böhmer favors targeting highly qualified foreign workers through measures such as lowering the minimum wage threshold for migrant workers.[8] Since 2010, Böhmer has been the patron of the German version of anti-racism education charity Show Racism the Red Card.[9]

After the deaths of nine Turkish citizens in a fire at a Ludwigshafen house on February 3, 2008, which media reports said may have been the result of arson involving neo-Nazis, Böhmer visited the fire site with Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.[10] In 2010, Böhmer accompanied Chancellor Merkel on a two-day state visit to Turkey. On the occasion of the German government's official celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of the German-Turkish recruitment agreement in 2011, Böhmer – together with Merkel and Erdoğan – thanked the first Turkish guest workers for their services to Germany.[11] When Erdoğan in 2011 called on the large Turkish community living in Germany to teach their children the Turkish language first and then German, Böhmer countered that “[o]nly those with good German have opportunities to advance in our country.”[12] In a controversy surrounding a neo-Nazi terrorist cell trial in 2013, she called on the Munich Higher Regional Court to give Turkish media access to the trial.[13]

Minister of State in the Federal Foreign Office, 2014-present

Following the 2013 federal elections, Böhmer was part of the CDU/CSU team in the negotiations with the SPD on a coalition agreement.

As Minister of State in the Federal Foreign Office, Böhmer is primarily responsible for cultural relations and education policy as well as of the Asia and South America regions.

Böhmer witnessed the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on 27 March 2014 at the Malacañang Palace in Manila.[14]

As Germany’s official representative, Böhmer took part in the inauguration ceremony for Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on 11 March 2014.[15] Since 2014, she has accompanied German President Joachim Gauck on state visits to the Czech Republic (May 2014), Luxembourg (November 2014),[16] Tanzania (February 2015),[17] Peru (March 2015), and Ireland (July 2015).[18]

Other activities

  • Central Committee of German Catholics, Member[19][20]
  • Deutschlandstiftung Integration, Member of the Board of Trustees
  • Federal Cultural Foundation, ex-officio Member of the Board of Trustees
  • International Journalists’ Programmes, Member of the Board of Trustees
  • Leibniz Association, Member of the Senate
  • Tarabya Academy, Chairwoman of the Advisory Board
  • ZDF Television Council, Member (since 1992) and deputy chairwoman (since 2002)[21]


  1. Heike Schmoll (July 12, 2007), Die integrative Staatsministerin Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
  2. Board of Trustees: Maria Böhmer CIVIS Media Foundation.
  3. Board of Trustees: Maria Böhmer CIVIS Media Foundation.
  4. German Opposition Split Over Reforms Deutsche Welle, October 8, 2003.
  5. Board of Trustees: Maria Böhmer CIVIS Media Foundation.
  6. Sonia Phalnikar (January 15, 2010), German politicians reject immigrant quotas in the public sector Deutsche Welle.
  7. Allan Hall (June 29, 2010), German politicians suggest immigrant 'intelligence test' The Daily Telegraph.
  8. Andreas Cremer (August 22, 2007), Merkel to Tackle Skills Shortage in Einstein's Home Bloomberg.
  9. „Show Racism the Red Card“-Schirmherrschaft
  10. Alan Crawford and Andreas Cremer (February 7, 2008), Erdogan's German Visit Overshadowed by Fire Deaths Bloomberg.
  11. Maximilian Popp, Özlem Gezer and Christoph Scheuermann (November 2, 2011), At Home in a Foreign Country: German Turks Struggle to Find Their Identity Der Spiegel.
  12. Judy Dempsey (February 28, 2011), German Politicians Assail Turkish Leader Over Cultural Remarks International Herald Tribune.
  13. Neo-Nazi Terrorist Trial: Berlin Criticizes Court's Press Policy Spiegel Online, March 27, 2013.
  14. Pia Lee-Brago (March 28, 2014), Germany reiterates support for peaceful resolution of sea row The Philippine Star.
  15. Minister of State Böhmer represents the Federal Government at the inauguration of the President of Chile, Bachelet Federal Foreign Office, press release of March 7, 2013.
  16. Visite d’État au Luxembourg du président de la République fédérale d’Allemagne, Joachim Gauck, et de Madame Daniela Schadt (3.-5.11.2014) Government of Luxembourg, press release of October 31, 2014.
  17. German President Joachim Gauck in Tanzania Konrad Adenauer Foundation, February 9, 2015.
  18. Gauck nimmt Schneider-Wein zu Staatsbesuch in Irland mit Die Rheinpfalz, July 16, 2015.
  21. Maria Böhmer, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office Federal Foreign Office.

External links