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Entertainment At the age of 80: Ex-Economics Minister and NRW Prime Minister Wolfgang Clement is dead

22:05  27 september  2020
22:05  27 september  2020 Source:   handelsblatt.com

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Wichtiger Architekt der Agenda 2010. © dpa Important architect of Agenda 2010.

The 80-year-old died early Sunday morning with his family. Clement was an advocate of Agenda 2010 and most recently a supporter of the FDP.

It was almost exactly twelve years ago that Wolfgang Clement left the SPD after 38 years “on the spur of the moment and deeply hurt”. The “super minister” for economy and labor had implemented Agenda 2010 under Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

With the Hartz reforms, he helped the country to an economic upswing and to more jobs. But when his SPD was never really able to reconcile itself with the alleged “fall into sin”, the Bochum native turned into a critic of his party. Wolfgang Clement died early on Sunday morning after a serious illness at the age of 80 at home in Bonn with his family.

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Clement, the son of a master builder, worked as a lawyer and journalist before he became involved in politics in North Rhine-Westphalia. Under Prime Minister Johannes Rau, Clement was head of the State Chancellery from 1989 and Minister for Economy and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Technology and Transport from 1995. From 1998 to 2002, Clement was the seventh Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Then followed the move to Berlin: Schröder appointed Clement as Federal Minister. After leaving the government in 2005 and then also from the SPD leadership, Clement started his “third professional life”. He went into business, became a member of the supervisory board of RWE Power and took a position at the Adecco agency and temporary work group.

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The break with social democracy finally came in 2008, when Clement indirectly advised against choosing the SPD top candidate Andrea Ypsilanti before the state elections in Hesse. Most recently, Clement supported the FDP.

"The relationship between Wolfgang Clements and his party was not easy," wrote the NRW-SPD in a statement on Sunday. His break with the SPD made this clear. “Despite all the contradictions, we will honor his long-standing commitment to social democracy and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.”

The SPD chairman Norbert Walter-Borjans tweeted: “With Wolfgang Clement, political Germany has lost a prominent and contentious head. He was a doer with whom it was not always easy. ”

Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) announced on Sunday:“ Wolfgang Clement has done a lot to reconcile the necessary economic structural change and the needs of working people. ” Clement has done Germany “great and lasting service”.

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Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) praised his predecessor on Twitter as a "great patriot". Clement was not about ideology, but about jobs and people, said Altmaier. As Minister of Economics and Labor, he contributed to the success of the necessary reforms.

North Rhine-Westphalia's Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) stated: "Personally, I am losing a lovable person who was always available for advice." contentious character like a modern maker of the Hartz reforms.

"Wolfgang Clement was a real North Rhine-Westphalia who was successful through hard work and discipline in politics and then also in business," said Laschet, who celebrated his 80th birthday with Clement in July. By then Clement had already looked very narrow and unsteady.

FDP boss Christian Lindner wrote on Twitter that Clement, as a social liberal, campaigned for “social advancement, work and growth” throughout his life. "I have come to appreciate him personally as a man of honor and advisor," wrote Lindner.

The New Social Market Economy Initiative (INSM) also commented on Clement's death. The former SPD politician was chairman of the network's board of trustees. “When he encountered obstacles, he did not try to avoid them, but instead moved them out of the way. Instead of talking things nicely, he preferred to speak plain text - even and especially when the consequences were associated with hardship and discomfort, ”explained INSM managing director Hubertus Pellengahr. Clement conducted debates with a keen mind and polished formulations.

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When Clement turned 80 on July 7th, the former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) told the German Press Agency: "Wolfgang Clement made a lot of political changes, in North Rhine-Westphalia as well as at the federal level." Schröder continued: " I gave him great credit for having given up the office of Prime Minister in 2002 and accepted the post of Federal Minister for Economics and Labor in my cabinet. ”Together with the then head of the Federal Chancellery, today's Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier he is one of the key players who designed the 2010 reform agenda, said Schröder.

Clement's companion, economic advisor and former CDU politician Friedhelm Ost, paid tribute to the “super politician” Clement on Sunday: “He felt obliged to Catholic social teaching and Protestant ethics, was a great successor to Ludwig Erhard and Karl Schiller, and developed the social Market economy further into our changed world. "

" Until recently, your husband was a fighter for the social market economy ", says the condolence letter from Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Clement's widow. Clement had been married to his wife Karin since 1966. They had five daughters and later 13 grandchildren.

More: Read here the guest articles by Wolfgang Clement in the Handelsblatt.

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