ARCHIV - 21.11.1986, Rheinland-Pfalz, Mainz: Der frühere Bundeswirtschaftsminister Martin Bangemann. Der ehemalige Bundeswirtschaftsminister und EU-Kommissar Martin Bangemann (FDP) ist tot. Das teilte die FDP am Mittwoch in Berlin mit. Bangemann wurde 87 Jahre alt. Foto: Jörg Schmitt/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

The former Federal Minister of Economics and EU Commissioner Martin Bangemann (FDP) is dead. Bangemann was 87 years old. According to his former spokesman, Bangemann died of a heart attack at his home in the French department of Deux-Sèvres on Tuesday.

“As a convinced liberal, Martin Bangemann has been passionately committed to Europe and Germany for decades and has taken on great responsibility in numerous functions,” said Christian Lindner, head of the FDP.

“He was a passionate liberal, a fighter for the social market economy and above all a great European,” wrote Lindner on Twitter.

Born on November 15, 1934 in Wanzleben in Saxony-Anhalt, Bangemann joined the FDP in 1963 and worked as a lawyer in Baden-Württemberg. At the third attempt, in 1972, he managed to get into the Bundestag. In 1974, the doctor of law became General Secretary of the FDP, but he gave up the office after a year.

From 1974 to 1978 Bangemann was FDP state chairman in Baden-Württemberg and from 1985 to 1988 federal chairman of the Free Democrats. As party leader, however, he could not step out of the shadow of his charismatic predecessor, Hans-Dietrich Genscher.

As Federal Minister of Economics, he was a member of the Federal Government between 1984 and 1988. Problems such as high unemployment and the steel, coal and shipyard crises burdened his tenure. He finally renounced ministerial and party offices and moved to Brussels.

There Bangemann, who was known as a hedonist, had significantly more fortune. From 1989 until the resignation of the European Commission in 1999, as EU Commissioner, he shaped the European internal market, EU industrial policy, the European information society and the liberalization of the telecommunications markets.

Then, in 1999, Bangemann moved directly from European politics to the Spanish telecommunications group Telefónica as a consultant. This met with sharp criticism from the public and also within the FDP. However, he rejected the allegations of possible conflicts of interest.