Kurt Biedenkopf

Hans Kurt Biedenkopf ( born January 28, 1930 in Ludwigshafen am Rhein ) is a German jurist, professor and politician of the CDU. From 1990 to 2002 he was Minister President of the Free State of Saxony.


Kurt Biedenkopf is a son of William Biedenkopf from Chemnitz, technical director of the Buna -Werke.

In 1938 the family moved to Schkopau near Merseburg, where Kurt Biedenkopf to 1945 attended high school. After the war, the family was evacuated to Hesse, where Biedenkopf 1949 the Abitur.

Kurt Biedenkopf, who is interested in his spare time for model railways, has four children - including Sebastian Biedenkopf - from his first marriage who was divorced in 1978. In 1979 he married the divorced also Kuhbier Ingrid, daughter of Fritz Ries.

Education and professional career

From 1949 to 1950 he spent a year studying political science in the United States at Davidson College, North Carolina. Then Biedenkopf studied law in Munich and later law and economics at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. There he was with a thesis on the subject of contractual restriction on competition and economic constitution. The exclusivity doctorate as an example in 1958 a doctorate in law. In 1960 he presented after the first 1955 releases, the second legal state examination. Following a Master of Laws ( LL.M ) at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA, and study and research stays at Georgetown University, he completed his habilitation in 1963 in Frankfurt am Main for civil, commercial, economic and labor law. From 1967 to 1969 was Biedenkopf Rector of Ruhr- University Bochum.

Between 1968 and 1970 he was Chairman of the Commission participation. This later Biedenkopf Commission called technical body of experts examined on behalf of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group, the " future shape of co-determination ". In 1972, the Works Constitution Act and the 1976 Co-Determination Act was passed which regulates the operational and entrepreneurial participation of the workforce in capital firms.

This expert task within the Commission's participation followed in the years 1971 to 1973, the membership of the central management of the Henkel Group in Dusseldorf.

In 1990, he was briefly a professor of economics at the University of Leipzig.

From October 2005, Kurt Biedenkopf should again be chaired by a Commission on the reform of co-determination, which began in the then German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, whose final report Biedenkopf 2006 German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave in December.

Party positions and public offices

In the seventies Biedenkopf was considered a close confidant of the CDU chairman Helmut Kohl. From 1973 to 1977 Biedenkopf worked as General Secretary of the CDU and belonged from 1976 to 1980 the German Bundestag. The party office he resigned due to disagreements with Helmut Kohl.

From 1977 to 1986 he was Chairman of the CDU Regional Association of Westphalia -Lippe, in direct connection to 1987 Chairman of the CDU Regional Association of North Rhine -Westphalia.

When in the spring of 1980, three weeks passed the CDU top candidate for the state election in North Rhine -Westphalia, Heinrich Köppler before the ballot, Biedenkopf took over the short term, the top candidate of the CDU, but could not prevail against Prime Minister John Rau,.

1984 Biedenkopf had been considered a candidate for the office of President of the European Commission. However, followers of Gaston Thorn was Jacques Delors.

In 1987 he resigned from the country's presidency of the NRW - CDU in favor Norbert Blüm. With the resignation of 1980 won the mandate in the North Rhine - Westphalian parliament in 1988, he withdrew from the politics of the day.

With the reunification of Biedenkopf returned in politics and joined the Saxon state election on 14 October 1990 as CDU top candidate. This generated the current CDU with 53.8 percent absolute majority. Biedenkopf was Minister President of the Free State of Saxony, and remained there until January 2002. The Diet he belonged to the state election 2004. From 1991 to 1995 he was also Chairman of the CDU state in Saxony.

In the state elections in 1994 and 1999, the current CDU built its absolute majority further. From November 1 1999 to October 31, 2000 Biedenkopf was President of the Bundesrat.

Following the resignation of Wolfgang Schaeuble as CDU chairman in February 2000 Biedenkopf was briefly as interim party leader in the conversation.

Because of dominance of criticism of his management style and of several extramarital affairs (eg Paunsdorf Center affair, Mietaffäre ) Biedenkopf declared on 16 January 2002 his resignation as Prime Minister on 18 April 2002.

Together with Meinhard Miegel Biedenkopf is on the board of the Institute for Business and Society eV in Bonn. Initiated together with Rudolf Bahro and he supported in the 90's the emergence of socio-ecological foresight experiment LebensGut in Pommritz. From 2003 to 2006 he was founding president of the Dresden International University. He is Chairman of the Trustees of the Hertie School of Governance and the Senate of the German National Foundation, which was founded in 1993 by Helmut Schmidt together with him and other friends; Further, it belongs to the international Salzburg Seminar.

After the policy

Since January 1, 2011 Kurt Biedenkopf holds a research professorship at the Science Centre Berlin for Social Research. Its research object is the performance of European democracies in the face of demographic change.

In July 2011, he called two days before the vote on the Federal Council to reject the law on the nuclear phase-out.


  • Limits of collective bargaining. Publisher C. F. Müller, Karlsruhe 1964.
  • The New Social Question and the Social Market Economy. In: Politics and Culture. Issue 3/ 1976 Colloquium Verlag, Berlin, ISSN 0340-5869, pp. 10 ff.
  • Time signals. Political landscape in transition. Bertelsmann Verlag, Munich 1990, ISBN 3-442-11696-1. ( Goldmann Paperback 11696 )
  • With Joseph Nye and Motoo Shiina: Global Competition After the Cold War. A Reassessment of Trilateralism. The Trilateral Commission, New York, 1991, ISBN 0-930503-67-8.
  • A German diary from 1989 to 1990. Siedler Verlag, 2000.
  • The exploitation of the grandchildren. Plea for a return to reason. Propylaea, 2006.
  • Kurt Biedenkopf, Ralf Dahrendorf, Erich Fromm, Maik Hosang (ed. ), Petra Kelly and Others: Climate change and basic income. The non-random simultaneity of both topics and a social ecological experiment. Andreas Masha Verlag, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-924404-73-4.
  • We have a choice. Liberty or Uncle Sam. Propylaea Verlag, Berlin 2011 ISBN 978-3-549-07375-9.