Catarina dos Santos is the first Portuguese deputy in the German parliament

Catarina dos Santos is the first Portuguese-German deputy to join the Bundestag (German parliament), and, at 27 years old, the youngest to be elected by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in this legislature.

“It’s a great honor,” said Catarina dos Santos to Lusa news agency. Born in Lisbon, in 1994, she lived practically all her life in Aachen, in the North Rhine-Westphalia region. Politics only came into his path at the age of 20, but now he confesses that he would not change his role for any other.

“I joined the party when I started studying. It was always in my spare time, nothing serious, I wanted to do other things besides studying, meeting other people”, he said, adding that he chose the CDU because it is “a party for everyone, with a policy embracing”.

I was 20 years old and wanted to be a lawyer. He studied law in the city of Cologne and, at the time of his internship, he finally had the opportunity to fulfill his long-standing desire to live in Portugal.

“I always wanted to live in Portugal (…) it was incredible, I loved it”, recalled Catarina, who did a three-month internship at the Portuguese-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “This year they gave me the chance to apply. It was never a goal, but now, I love it. It’s a way of representing my part of Germany, Portugal, and also the young people. There are so many people that I now have to represent. I think it’s my dream job I didn’t know about,” he confessed, between smiles.

One week in Berlin, another at home

Catarina dos Santos joins the Bundestag after Angela Merkel’s 16 years as chancellor. The CDU is now playing the role of the main opposition party, with a new leader expected to be elected this month.

“It’s a big challenge for the party, no doubt. But for me there’s no big difference because I don’t know the government’s work. In the last 16 years I wasn’t a deputy. The beginning is for everyone. For many of the deputies it’s also a situation. new,” he revealed.

Over the next four years, Catarina will be split between Berlin and her locality. “I will continue to be a lawyer, but I will not practice. My work will be entirely as a deputy. I will spend a week in Berlin, another in my house”, she explained, revealing that she will be part of two groups in parliament, dedicated to Europe and to digitization.

With a Portuguese mother and a German father, the division of the family between two countries was blurred when he supported Catarina to assume her new position. “My family has always helped me a lot. My mother told me: ‘if you want to do it, we’ll do it’. I had a lot of help from everyone. My grandmother, in Portugal, saw a small interview with me and was very happy”, he shared .

Catarina dos Santos hopes to be a “Luso-German voice” that can best represent the two countries.

The CDU elected 197 deputies after being defeated in the September 2021 elections. Catarina dos Santos, 27, is the youngest.