Wednesday, January 19

Britta Ernst, a rare first lady for Germany


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“She is my priority, not politics,” says the new German chancellor about his wife, the Brandenburg Regional Minister for Education since 2017 Britta Ernst. Yesterday, as Scholz presented his coalition agreement in the German capital, Ernst, 60, made it clear to the local press that she will continue to hold her position and justified her decision to send all Brandenburg students three days earlier to vacation. Christmas due to the pandemic. On Thursday she is scheduled to participate in a press conference to explain her teacher training program on childhood sexual abuse, already giving the first signs that she will not be a typical first lady.

The couple

married in 1998 and has no children. As early as 2011, when Scholz became mayor of Hamburg, Ernst avoided assuming the classical role and maintained his political independence. In 2018 they moved to Potsdam, half an hour from Berlin, where they have found a ‘permanent home’. In January, she assumed the presidency of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) of the Bundesländer, especially relevant in times of coronavirus. So far no partner of the German head of government has managed to escape the responsibilities of representation, not even Merkel’s very discreet husband, the renowned and busy scientist Joachim Sauer, so Britta will now have to reorganize. What Scholz thinks of questions about whether his wife will continue to work while he is chancellor, he made clear in late July in a talk with the women’s magazine ‘Brigitte’. “That is a question that infuriates me. I do not know if this will also be asked of men who are spouses, “he said, taking the opportunity to highlight his wife’s successful political career.

They met when they were both students in Hamburg. Ernst began military service in the SPD in 1978, when he was 17 years old, and has since worked as an assistant to several senators. Over time he concentrated on the school and education sector. While Scholz was experiencing her own ups and downs in regional and federal politics, the trained Housing and Real Estate Administration Assistant, who later also studied Social Economics, went his own way in hamburg, initially as a member of the regional parliament. In 2014 she became the Minister of Education in Schleswig-Holstein and, after the defeat of the SPD in the 2017 regional elections, she lost her post. A little later, however, a new opportunity arose in Brandenburg: Regional President Dietmar Woidke took her to Potsdam, where she continued her specialty.

In the electoral campaign he remained completely on the sidelines. Both of them have always protected your private lifeAlthough his friends say that if Olaf has been going for a run every day for more than 20 years, it is due to pressure from his wife and that for her he learned to cook Königsberger Klopse. Scholz shamelessly confesses that Britta is “the love of my life, without her I would definitely be a completely different person and, thanks to her, I am clearly a better person.”

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