Michael Georg Link (born 6 February 1963 in Heilbronn, Germany) is the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). From January 2012 to December 2013, he served as First Deputy Foreign Minister in the German Government (Minister of State for Europe).
After graduating from secondary school at the Elly-Heuss-Knapp Gymnasium in Heilbronn, Link did his military service in the 364th Tank Battalion of the German Federal Armed Forces in Kuelsheim, after which he studied Russian, French, political science, public law and Eastern European history at the University of Augsburg, the University of Lausanne and Heidelberg University.
From 1995 to 1999, Link worked as a research assistant in the German Bundestag (study commission on German Unity), assistant to former German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, and then as senior advisor to the FDP Parliamentary Group on International affairs.
Link joined the Free Democratic Party (FDP) in 1986. From 1989 to 1995, he served as the Deputy National Chairman and Treasurer of the Young Liberals and as the representative of the Young Liberals in the Federal Executive of the FDP. In 2003, he became a member of the FDP Executive in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg, where he served as treasurer from 2006. Michael Link was elected to the Federal Executive of the FDP in 2010.
From 2005 to 2013, Link served as a member of the German Bundestag. In the negotiations to form a coalition government following the 2009 federal elections, he was part of the FDP delegation in the working group on foreign affairs, defense and development policy, led by Franz Josef Jung and Werner Hoyer.
In 2009, Link became spokesperson on European Union Budget and Finance for the FDP Parliamentary Group. From 2009 to 2012, he was the group’s spokesperson on European Affairs and Chairman of the Parliamentary Group on International Affairs. From 2009 to 2012, Link was Deputy Chairman of the Bundestag’s Committee on European Union Affairs. During this time, from 2006 to 2013, he was also a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE.
On 24 January 2012, Link succeeded Werner Hoyer as Minister of State for European Affairs and First Deputy Foreign Minister at the Federal Foreign Office. He was also Commissioner for Franco-German co-operation. In that capacity, he served as ex-officio chairman of the supervisory board of the Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF) and as member of the board of trustees of the German Foundation for Peace Research.
He left the Bundestag as well as his office as Minister of State as a result of the change of government after the 2013 German federal election.
In May 2014, Link was nominated to become Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) by the Foreign Ministers of the 57 OSCE participating States. He assumed office on 1 July 2014.
Link is a member of the International Advisory Board of the Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF), the Board of Trustees of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation, the Board of the German-French Institute (DFI) and the Board of the Reinhold Maier Foundation. He remains active in the German Council on Foreign Relations, the German Association for Eastern European Studies, the Southeast Europe Association and the German Atlantic Association.