Otto Georg Schily was Federal Minister of the Interior of Germany from 1998 to 2005, in the cabinet of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD).
In 1980, Schily became founding member of the Green Party. In 1982, he joined other members of the Green Party for a meeting with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who offered to help groups allied with the European anti-nuclear movement to try to close United States military bases in Europe. In the 1983 elections, Schily was elected to the German Bundestag and in the first electoral term in which the Greens were represented in parliament, he was one of the spokespersons of the parliamentary group, together with Petra Kelly and Marieluise Beck. In parliament, he became a leading exponent of the party’s realist wing, which favored striving for a governing coalition with the Social Democrats following the 1987 elections.
IN 1989, Schily left the party, resigned his seat in parliament, and joined the Social Democrats (SPD) instead – which he represented in the new Bundestag in 1990. In subsequent years, he was active in affairs of the former East Germany and in coordinating various legal policies of the SPD. After Gerhard Schröder became chancellor in 1998, he appointed Schily as Federal Minister of the Interior. He was the oldest member of the cabinet. During his time in office, Schily was frequently criticized for conservative policies, such as pushing through German anti-terrorist legislation after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, which were seen as contradictory to his earlier beliefs.
Between 2001 and 2004, Schily led the government’s negotiations with the conservative opposition on a bill that made it easier for skilled workers to move to Germany but toughened controls on foreign militants. Following the 2005 elections and the formation of the new government of Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, Schily was succeeded in his post by Wolfgang Schäuble. Schily remained a member of parliament until 2009 and served on the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
After serving as a minister, Schily became a supervisory board member of two companies for biometric technologies, raising questions as to whether or not he was capitalizing on his work as minister, regarding the implementation of biometric passports.