Born in Heringen on 24 August 1970; Protestant.
Gained higher education entrance qualification (Abitur) at Werratal School in Heringen in 1990; completed compulsory non‑military national service from 1990 to 1991, working for the Protestant Church; read political science, public law, German studies and sociology at Goethe University Frankfurt from 1991 to 1997, scholarship holder of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.
Graduated in political science in 1997; worked as a tutor and research assistant at the Center for North American Studies at Goethe University Frankfurt; worked as a lecturer at the Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science at Freie Universität Berlin from 2000 to 2002.
Member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) since 1987; active member of the Young Socialists (youth section of the SPD); Deputy Federal Chairperson of the Young Socialists from 1993 to 1995; member of the SPD Executive Committee of North Hesse district from 1996 to 2015; Secretary-General of the SPD in Land Hesse from 2009 to 2014; from 2015 to 2019 member of the Executive Committee of the SPD in Land Hesse; member of the SPD Executive Committee since 2017.
Directly elected Member of the German Bundestag for Werra-Meißner – Hersfeld-Rotenburg since 1998. Spokesperson of the SPD Members of the Bundestag from Land Hesse from 2009 to 2014 and since 2017; SPD parliamentary group spokesperson on Europe from 2010 to 2013.
Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office since December 2013 and Commissioner for Franco-German Cooperation since 2014.
Other functions and memberships:
- Member of the Hesse synod of the Protestant Church in Kurhessen-Waldeck
- Member of the Chamber for Public Responsibility of the Protestant Church in Germany
- Member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for European Politics (IEP)
- Member of the Board of the Franco-German Institute (dfi)
- Member of the Supervisory Board of the Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF)
- Member of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation Flight, Expulsion, Reconciliation
- Member of the Advisory Board of the Adam von Trott Foundation
- Member of the Board of the German Foundation for Peace Research (DSF)
- Member of the Board of Trustees of the Holocaust Museum of Greece Foundation