Laschet was born in Burtscheid, a suburb of Aachen near the Belgian and Dutch borders, to an observant Roman Catholic family. His father was a supervisor at a black coal mine and later became an elementary school teacher and headmaster. He attended the Pius-Gymnasium in Aachen and studied law at the universities of Bonn and Munich, passing the first state examination in law in 1987. He studied journalism from 1986 to 1988. In Munich he became a member of K.D.St.V. Aenania München, a Catholic student fraternity that is member of the Cartellverband.
Laschet worked as a journalist and in the publishing industry from 1986 until 1991, including as Bonn correspondent for Bayerischer Rundfunk. He later served as editor-in-chief of KirchenZeitung Aachen from 1991 until 1994.
Following the 1994 national elections, Laschet became a member of the German Bundestag. He served on the Committee on Economic Cooperation and Development as well as on the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union.
As Member of the European Parliament, Laschet served on the Committee on Budgets between 1999 and 2001 and on the Committee on Foreign Affairs between 2002 and 2005. In the latter capacity, he served as the Parliament’s rapporteur on relations between the EU and the United Nations.
Under Minister-President Jürgen Rüttgers in North Rhine-Westphalia, Laschet served as State Minister for Generations, Family, Women and Integration from 2005 until 2010, and as State Minister for Federal Affairs, Europe and Media from 2010. In 2010, he unsuccessfully ran against Norbert Röttgen for the post of CDU chairman in the state. When Röttgen resigned from that office in 2012, Laschet was elected as his successor. On 4 December 2012 he was elected as one of five deputy chairpersons of the national CDU party, serving alongside Volker Bouffier, Julia Klöckner, Thomas Strobl and Ursula von der Leyen.
Laschet currently serves as state MP in the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia, he heads his party's parliamentary group there and also chairs CDU's state chapter (Landesverband). Since 2014, he has been a member of the North-Rhine Westphalia Commission on Constitutional Reform, led by Rainer Bovermann.
In the negotiations to form a Grand Coalition of the Christian Democrats (CDU together with the Bavarian CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD) following the 2013 federal elections, Laschet was part of the CDU/CSU delegation in the working group on energy policy, led by Peter Altmaier and Hannelore Kraft.
In November 2015, Laschet visited the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan to learn more about the plight of Syrians fleeing the violence in the ongoing Syrian civil war that erupted in 2011. Between March 2015 and January 2016, he chaired the Robert Bosch Expert Commission to Consider a Realignment of Refugee Policy, an expert group convened by the Robert Bosch Stiftung.
In November 2016, Laschet was elected leading candidate for the North Rhine-Westphalia state elections in May 2017. He was a CDU delegate to the Federal Convention for the purpose of electing the President of Germany in 2017.
Since 27 June 2017 Laschet has been the 11th Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia. As one of his state's representatives at the Bundesrat, he serves on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Defence Committee.
On European integration, Laschet seeks to strengthen the European Union on issues such as fighting international terrorism and organized crime, as well as energy policy. He also wants to see the President of the European Commission be elected directly by European voters.
During the European debt crisis, Laschet called for an “open discussion” toward a broad solution to the debt crisis, of which Eurobonds could be a part. He argued that a Greek exit from the Eurozone could trigger undesirable upheaval in southern Europe: "(An exit) could lead to instability in a NATO member state. Russia is standing ready with billions to help Greece in such a scenario." In October 2011, he signed George Soros' open letter calling for more Europe in the single currency turmoil.
In 2016, Laschet dismissed proposals for a so-called burqa ban as a “phony debate” and distraction from more pressing issues. However, his party later adopted this policy as a core issue.
While still an MEP and following a 2001 visit to the Middle East, Laschet reignited a controversy over EU funding for textbooks used in Palestinian schools by comparing them to Nazi propaganda, prompting him to urge for more stringent controls over how funds earmarked for Israel and the Palestinian Authorities are spent.
In 2004, the European Commissioner for Competition Mario Monti publicly rejected claims made by Laschet according to which a ban on German soccer team Alemannia Aachen’s bid to play important UEFA Cup matches in neighbouring Holland is a breach of the Union’s anti-trust rules.
In addition to his political work, Laschet holds a variety of honorary positions, including:Development and Peace Foundation (SEF), Ex-Officio Chairman of the Board of Trustees (since 2017)
North Rhine-Westphalian Foundation for the Environment and Development (SUE), Ex-Officio Chairman of the Board (since 2017)
Campus Symposium of the Business and Information Technology School, Member of the Advisory Board
Central Committee of German Catholics, Member
Charlemagne Prize, Member of the Board of Directors
European Academy of Sciences and Arts, Member
European Foundation for the Aachen Cathedral, Member of the Board of Trustees
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Policy Fellow
Karl Arnold Foundation, Member of the Board
Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Member of the Planning Committee
missio, Member of the Supervisory Board
United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN), Member of the Presidium
Theodor Heuss Foundation, Member of the Board of Trustees (-2015)
Laschet has three children, Julius, Eva and Johannes Laschet, and is married to Susanne Laschet.