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Former German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble Dies at 81

Wolfgang Schäuble, the former German finance minister recognized for his crucial role in guiding the eurozone through the debt crisis, has passed away at the age of 81. A noteworthy figure in German politics for over five decades, Schäuble was highly regarded for his contributions to German reunification and his influential position in post-war politics.

Schäuble initiated his political journey in 1965 when he joined the conservative CDU party. He served as a member of the Bundestag for 51 years and played a vital role in negotiating German reunification following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. His efforts in shaping the reunified Germany were viewed as a pinnacle of his political career.

During his tenure as finance minister, Schäuble was recognized for his dedication to fiscal prudence and his role in achieving Germany’s budget surplus in 2014, known as the “schwarze Null” or black zero. He was also a key designer of the austerity measures adopted by the eurozone in response to the 2008 debt crisis.

Schäuble’s influence extended beyond Germany, as he played a significant role in European affairs, advocating for a rules-based international order and cautioning about the perils of unchecked public debt. His straightforward approach to the eurozone crisis led him to suggest a Greek “time-out” from the euro, although the proposal was ultimately turned down by Athens.

Following his tenure as finance minister, Schäuble served as the president of the Bundestag, where he continued to be a prominent figure in German politics until his retirement last year.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz offered his condolences, stating that Germany had lost “a sharp thinker, a passionate politician, and a pugnacious Democrat.” Former UK Chancellor George Osborne also commended Schäuble, emphasizing his role in unifying Germany and his enduring impact on post-war politics.

Image Source: Wolfgang Schäuble @ Instagram

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