Bookseller's apprentice, 1975—1977. Various positions in bookshops and publication houses, 1977—1982. Owner bookshop, 1982—1994.
Municipal councillor Würselen, 1984—1999. Mayor Wurselen, 1987—1999. Member party council Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, Germany, 1991—1995, member Mittelrhein district executive, since 1995, chairman Aachen district, since 1996, member federal executive committee, since 1999, chairman MEPs, since 2000.
Member group Party European Socialists, since 2002. Vice-chairman Socialist group European Parliament. Member Committee Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs.
Substitute Committee Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defense Policy. Substitute Delegation to the European Union-Cyprus Joint Parliamentary Committee. Member Delegation to European Union-Armenia, European Union-Azerbaijan and European Union-Georgia Parliamentary Cooperative Commission.