Martin Schulz

Mr. Schulz Comes to Town

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Martin Schulz, the son of a policeman, a trained bookseller and a leading Social Democrat in Brussels for most of the last two decadees, now has a long-shot chance of blocking Angela Merkel’s bid for a fourth term as German chancellor.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Mr. Schulz, a member of the European Parliament since 1994 and its president from July 2014 until last November, will likely be nominated by Germany’s Social Democrats on Sunday as their candidate in fall elections.
    • Mr. Schulz, a native of a small town near Aachen in northwest Germany, has a reputation for being a passionate defender of Europe and a tenacious political opponent.
    • In 2003, he once got into a verbal fight with Italy’s then-President Silvio Berlusconi on the floor of the European Parliament over corruption allegations, which prompted Mr. Berlusconi to make a joke about Nazis.
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    Audio

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main Source Patrick Seeger DPA – Martin Schulz EU parliament chairman speaks in Strassbourg parliament building European Union Sept 2016 – 66055023
Martin Schulz, a relative political unknown in Germany after a career in European politics in Brussels, has a good chance of blocking Angela Merkel's bid for a fourth term as chancellor. Source: Patrick Seeger / DPA

In German terms, Angela Merkel was already on the ropes, politically speaking, before she learned Tuesday she would be facing a new challenger this September in Martin Schulz, the former president of the European Parliament.

The December terror attack on a Berlin Christmas market, which killed 12 people and injured scores, had damaged Ms. Merkel’s bid for a fourth term in office, which would make her the longest-serving chancellor, surpassing Helmut Kohl.

But there were other clouds on Ms. Merkel’s political radar. The economy, long her strongest suit, had begun to sputter, with inflation creeping up last month above 2 percent annually, a taboo in fiscally conservative Germany.

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