Michael Georg Link

Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Wolfgang Schäuble Alice Weidel
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Michael Georg Link
Michael Georg Link 2014.jpg
Minister of State in the Federal Foreign Office
with Cornelia Pieper
In office
Preceded byWerner Hoyer
Succeeded byMichael Roth
Member of the Bundestag
In office
2005 – 2013
Assumed office
Personal details
Born (1963-02-06) 6 February 1963 (age 57)
Heilbronn, Baden-Württemberg, West Germany
(now Germany)
Political partyFree Democratic Party
Alma mater

Michael Georg Link (born 6 February 1963) is a German politician and Member of Parliament. He was the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) from July 2014 to June 2017. From January 2012 to December 2013, he served as First Deputy Foreign Minister (Minister of State for Europe) in the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Early life and work

Link was born in Heilbronn, Germany. After graduating from secondary school at the Elly-Heuss-Knapp Gymnasium in Heilbronn, Link did his military service in the 364th Tank Battalion of the German Federal Armed Forces in Kuelsheim, after which he studied Russian, French, political science, public law and Eastern European history at the University of Augsburg, the University of Lausanne and Heidelberg University.

From 1995 to 1999, Link worked as a research assistant in the German Bundestag (study commission on German Unity), assistant to former German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, and then as senior advisor to the FDP Parliamentary Group on International affairs.

Political career

Link joined the Free Democratic Party (FDP) in 1986. From 1989 to 1995, he served as the Deputy National Chairman and Treasurer of the Young Liberals and as the representative of the Young Liberals in the Federal Executive of the FDP. In 2003, he became a member of the FDP Executive in the state of Baden-Württemberg, where he served as treasurer from 2006. Michael Link was elected to the Federal Executive of the FDP in 2010.

Member of Parliament, 2005-2013

From 2005 to 2013, Link served as a member of the German Bundestag. In the negotiations to form a coalition government following the 2009 federal elections, he was part of the FDP delegation in the working group on foreign affairs, defense and development policy, led by Franz Josef Jung and Werner Hoyer.

In 2009, Link became spokesperson on European Union Budget and Finance for the FDP Parliamentary Group. From 2009 to 2012, he was the group’s spokesperson on European Affairs and Chairman of the Parliamentary Group on International Affairs. From 2009 to 2012, Link was Deputy Chairman of the Bundestag’s Committee on European Union Affairs. During this time, from 2006 to 2013, he was also a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE.

First Deputy Foreign Minister, 2012-2013

On 24 January 2012, Link succeeded Werner Hoyer as Minister of State for European Affairs and First Deputy Foreign Minister at the Federal Foreign Office. He was also Commissioner for Franco-German co-operation. In that capacity, he served as ex-officio chairman of the supervisory board of the Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF) and as member of the board of trustees of the German Foundation for Peace Research.

He left the Bundestag as well as his office as Minister of State as a result of the change of government after the 2013 German federal election.

Director of ODIHR, 2014–2017

In May 2014, Link was nominated to become Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) by the Foreign Ministers of the 57 OSCE participating States. He assumed office on 1 July 2014.[1][2]

In his capacity as director, Link notably attended a 2015 court hearing related to the case of Nadiya Savchenko, the Ukrainian Air Force pilot and Member of Parliament charged with complicity in the murder of two Russian journalists near Luhansk, at the Moscow City Court.[3] He also served as chief election observer during the 2016 presidential election in the United States of America; the OSCE had sent its biggest team ever to the United States for the election amid charges from candidate Donald Trump that the poll could be “rigged” and concerns by civil rights activists that black voters could face undue obstacles.[4]

Link was succeeded by Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir on 19 July 2017.

Member of Parliament, 2017-present

Link was re-elected to the German Bundestag in the 2017 elections. He has since been serving on the Committee on European Affairs and on the Budget Committee’s Sub-Committee on European Affairs. On the Budget Committee, he is his parliamentary group's rapporteur on the budgets of the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. He also serves as deputy chairman of the German-French Parliamentary Friendship Group and of the German-Russian Parliamentary Friendship Group.

In addition to his committee assignments, Link has been serving as substitute member of the German delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). At the Assembly, he is a member of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs. He also was elected deputy chairperson of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group under the leadership of chair Rik Daems in 2018.[5]

During his time in office, Link also led the short-term OSCE observer mission for the 2018 presidential elections in Russia.[6]

Other activities


  1. ^ OSCE/ODIHR. "Michael Georg Link". Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  2. ^ Auswärtiges Amt (11 July 2014). "Steinmeier meets new ODIHR Director". Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  3. ^ ODIHR attended Savchenko hearing in Moscow Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), press release of 27 February 2015.
  4. ^ Andrea Shalal (January 19, 2017), OSCE report cites concerns about U.S. electoral system: German media Reuters.
  5. ^ Rik Daems re-elected as ALDE-PACE President Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, press release of January 23, 2018.
  6. ^ International election observers in Russia to hold press conference on Monday Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, press release of March 16, 2018.