July 25, 2021

Henrik Enderlein, German economist and scholar, is dead

He was a bridge between Germany and France, two countries he knew intimately and for which he worked with passion, convinced that the relaunch of European construction could only go through closer cooperation between Berlin and Paris. Director of the Berlin branch of the Jacques Delors Institute and professor at the Hertie School, the equivalent of Sciences Po in the German capital, from which he left the presidency in March because of a melanoma from which he thought he could survive, economist Henrik Enderlein died in Berlin on Friday May 28 at the age of 46.

Born on September 13, 1974 in Tübingen, nourished by politics from his childhood – his father was for a long time a Liberal Democrat deputy (FDP) of Baden-Württemberg before becoming Minister of Research for Brandenburg after German reunification – Henrik Enderlein discovered France by coming to do his class of 2from in Yvelines, before returning there, three years later, at Sciences Po. There he met his future wife, Isabelle, who would become a recognized translator and with whom he would have four children.

A graduate of Columbia University in New York and the Max-Planck Institute in Cologne, the young economist began his career in Frankfurt, within the European Central Bank (ECB). He stayed there only two years, from 2001 to 2003, but made a decisive meeting there: that of the Italian Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, then member of the Governing Council of the ECB and future Minister of Finance of Romano Prodi, with from which he is convinced that the European Union cannot be reduced to a market but that the establishment of the euro must be accompanied by deeper integration and a real common economic policy.

“A real political finesse”

If he finally opts for an academic career – at the Free University of Berlin, at the Hertie School, of which he will be one of the founders, in 2005, then as a visiting professor at Harvard or at the European University Institute in Florence. – Henrik Enderlein, however, has too much of a taste for politics to stay away from it altogether.

He will therefore do it in his own way, as a man of networks and influence. As in 2010, at the beginning of the sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone, where he inspired the Social Democrats Peer Steinbrück – former Minister of Finance – and Frank-Walter Steinmeier – now President of the Republic – a platform noticed in the Financial Times in favor of Eurobonds.

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