Peter Gauweiler
Personal details
Born (1949-06-22) 22 June 1949 (age 71)
Munich, Bavaria, West Germany
(now Germany)
Nationality Germany
Political partyCSU
Spouse(s)Eva Gauweiler
Alma mater

Peter Gauweiler (born 22 June 1949) is a German lawyer and politician of Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU) who served as a member of the German Bundestag from 2002 to 2015, representing the Munich South district. From 2013 until 2015, he also served as deputy leader of the CSU, under the leadership of chairman Horst Seehofer. He resigned his parliamentary seat and leadership post in 2015 at age 65.

Gauweiler is considered a Euro-sceptic and made a name with partly successful constitutional complaints against the euro bailout fund and the Lisbon Treaty.[1]

Political career

Career in satate politics

Gauweiler was born in Munich, Bavaria. He joined the CSU in 1968 and held an elected offices from 1972, first in the Munich City Council, and later in the Bavarian state parliament.[2] In 1987, during Gauweiler’s time as secretary of state in the State Interior Ministry, Bavaria put into effect some of the stiffest AIDS regulations ordered anywhere in the world, including mandatory blood tests for prostitutes, drug addicts, prison inmates, applicants for civil-service jobs and some foreigners seeking residence in Bavaria.[3]

From 1990 to 1994, Gauweiler served as Bavarian State Minister for Regional Development and Environment in the government of Minister-President Max Streibl. Most notably during that time, he demanded that the Party of Democratic Socialism and the German Communist Party be outlawed after German reunification.[4]

Member of the German Parliament, 2002–2015

Gauweiler first became a member of the German Bundestag in the 2002 elections.

From 2006, Gauweiler served as a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Foreign Cultural and Educational Policies of the German Bundestag. In 2009, he accompanied German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on what was the first visit to Iraq by a German foreign minister in 22 years.[5] Along with fellow lawmakers Günter Gloser, Monika Grütters, Luc Jochimsen and Claudia Roth, Gauweiler traveled to Iran in 2010 to meet with Ali Larijani, Manouchehr Mottaki and others; the trip was heavily criticized by international human rights organizations.[6] In 2012, he argued that the German government's gold reserves held in the United States should be repatriated.[7]

Following the 2009 federal elections, Gauweiler was part of the CDU/CSU team in the negotiations with the FDP on a coalition agreement; he joined the working group on foreign affairs, defense and development policy, led by Franz Josef Jung and Werner Hoyer. Similarly, he participated in the negotiations on forming a so-called Grand Coalition with the SPD following the 2013 federal elections.

In November 2013, Gauweiler was elected deputy chairman of the CSU,[8] in what was widely considered a move to appease the eurosceptic elements within his party.[9] He resigned the post and his seat in the Bundestag on 31 March 2015, about three months before his 65th birthday; he had previously been strongly criticized by CSU leader Horst Seehofer for voting against the extension of financial aid for Greece.[10] After his resignation he was immediately invited to become "a top official", by one report, in the euro-skeptic Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party but he declined the invitation. The same report speculated that the resignation would cause Chancellor Angela Merkel more difficulty by removing a protector of her right political flank in the parliament.[11]


Over many years, Gauweiler has led several attempts to have the German constitutional court block measures that he considers enhance the EU’s powers at the cost of national sovereignty.[12] Although his legal cases have generally failed, he has gained support from conservative voters, including members of the eurosceptic AfD party.[13]

In 1992, Gauweiler described the Maastricht Treaty as a "totalitarian dream", and called its key component, a common currency by 1999, as "Esperanto money".[14] In 2008, he challenged the German ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon, claiming that the treaty was unconstitutional. He launched a similar challenge to the European Constitution in 2005, but the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany made no ruling and a presidential signature was never given.[15][16] In 2008, he challenged the Treaty of Lisbon before the constitutional court, saying that the proposed reforms of the EU would undermine the independence of the German Parliament and clash with the German Constitution.[17]

Gauweiler has also been among the most aggressive challengers of the European Central Bank's efforts to rescue the Euro at the Constitutional Court.[18] In 2011, together with a group of academics, he unsuccessfully asked the court to block the country’s participation in the bail-out packages for Greece and in the European Financial Stability Facility, the predecessor of the European Stability Mechanism.[19] In 2012, Gauweiler filed a complaint against the ESM and included opposition to a banking license for the bailout fund.[20] Gauweiler claimed that the ECB's bond-buying program threatened Germany with unlimited losses,[21] arguing that it is an additional ground to reject use of German tax revenue for the rescue fund.[22] He managed to convince a majority of justices on the court's second senate that the ECB's program to save the European common currency was contrary to European Union law. The judges subsequently referred the case onward to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, a first for the German court.[23]

On 27 January 2015 Gauweiler voted against the Merkel government’s proposal for a four-month extension of Greece's bailout; in doing so, joining 29 dissenters from the CDU/CSU parliamentary group who expressed scepticism as to whether the Greek government under Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras could be trusted to deliver on its reform pledges.[24]

Legal practice

Gauweiler is a partner in the law firm Bub, Gauweiler & Partner in Munich. Among other high-profile cases, the firm represented Gauweiler’s friend[25] and onetime media mogul Leo Kirch in a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against Deutsche Bank.[26]

In 2021, Süddeutsche Zeitung revealed that Gauweiler had been receiving consultancy fees amounting to more than eleven million euros by eurosceptic billionaire August von Finck during his time in parliament.[27]

Other activities



  1. ^ Nancy Waldmann (February 27, 2013), Dispute over Europe: “A Homeland is Not a Piece of Earth” Goethe Institute, Prague.
  2. ^ Nancy Waldmann (February 27, 2013), Dispute over Europe: “A Homeland is Not a Piece of Earth” Goethe Institute, Prague.
  3. ^ Serge Schmemann (July 12, 1987), A German Controversy: What To Do? Bavaria Has Some Strict Ideas New York Times.
  4. ^ John O. Koehler, Stasi - The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police New York Times.
  5. ^ Ralf Beste (February 17, 2009), Foreign Minister in Baghdad: Visit to Iraq Underscores Germany's Shift in Policy Spiegel Online.
  6. ^ Benjamin Weinthal (November 16, 2010), That Treasured German-Iranian Friendship Wall Street Journal.
  7. ^ Stephen Beard (November 16, 2012), Tracking down Germany's gold Deutsche Welle.
  8. ^ Peter Gauweiler: Vom Außenseiter zur CSU-Parteispitze Augsburger Allgemeine, November 13, 2013.
  9. ^ Mehreen Khan (March 31, 2015), Angela Merkel faces euro rebellion as senior official resigns over Greek bail-out support The Daily Telegraph.
  10. ^ Thorsten Severin (March 31, 2015), German conservative quits after refusing to back Greek aid extension Reuters.
  11. ^ Delamaide, Darrell, "Opinion: Euro-skeptic’s resignation exposes Merkel to more dissent", MarketWatch, April 3, 2015. The article included a link to his statement, published only in German. Retrieved 2015-04-03.
  12. ^ Claire Jones and Stefan Wagstyl (January 18, 2015), The eurozone: A strained bond Financial Times.
  13. ^ Wagstyl, Stefan, and Chris Giles (January 22, 2015), Critics fear ECB quantitative easing will lead to crisis Financial Times.
  14. ^ Josef Joffe (April 1, 1992), Is the National Symbol in Danger?: Europe, Apple Pie And the D-Mark International Herald Tribune.
  15. ^ No Success for Peter Gauweiler's applications against the ratification of the EU Constitution, Press Release No 35/2005 dated April 28, 2005. (via Law Web Saarbrücken), April 28, 2005.
  16. ^ "the tap: German Lisbon Ratification Also Uncertain". June 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
  17. ^ Stephen Castle and Judy Dempsey (July 1, 2008), Pursuit of EU treaty 'pointless,' Kaczynski says International Herald Tribune.
  18. ^ Nicholas Kulish (September 26, 2012), Political Shifts in Bavaria, Land of Tradition, Could Have Wide Repercussions New York Times.
  19. ^ Karin Matussek (February 7, 2014), ECB’s ‘Whatever It Takes’ Questioned by Top German Court Bloomberg.
  20. ^ Michelle Martin (August 4, 2012), German politicians concerned about bigger role for ESM Reuters.
  21. ^ Graeme Wearden (September 10, 2012), Eurozone crisis live: Greece battles with troika over cuts - as it happened The Guardian.
  22. ^ Jack Ewing and Melissa Eddy (September 9, 2012), Europe Plan Faces Threat in Germany International Herald Tribune.
  23. ^ Europe or Democracy? What German Court Ruling Means for the Euro Spiegel Online, February 10, 2014.
  24. ^ Stephen Brown (February 27, 2015), Germany backs Greek extension but bailout fatigue grows Reuters.
  25. ^ Hannes Hintermeier (November 14, 2012), Der Überbayer Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
  26. ^ David Crawford and Matthew Karnitschnig (August 22, 2009), Banker, Gadfly, Lawyer, Spy Wall Street Journal.
  27. ^ Roman Deininger, Andreas Glas and Klaus Ott (March 25, 2021), Mehr als elf Millionen Euro für Gauweiler Süddeutsche Zeitung.