Claudia Roth began her artistic work, which she always regarded as also being political, in the 1970s as a trained artistic director at a theatre in Memmingen. She then worked at the municipal theatre in Dortmund and the Hoffmanns-Comic-Teater, and subsequently became involved with the political rock band "Ton Steine Scherben".
In July 1989, she was elected for the first time as a Member of the European Parliament for the Greens.
Amongst other things, she was a member of two committees of inquiry in the European Parliament, namely the Committee of Inquiry into Racism and Xenophobia and the Committee of Inquiry into Links between Organized Crime and Drugs, as well as of the EC-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee.
In addition, she became a member of the new Committee on Civic Liberties and Internal Affairs, the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Sub-Committee on Human Rights.
From 1989 to 1990, she was also deputy chairperson of the Green Group in the European Parliament.
In July 1994, she was again elected to the European Parliament as a lead candidate of Alliance 90/The Greens. She was chairperson of the Green Group in the European Parliament until 1998.
During this second term as an MEP, she was again a member of the Committee on Civic Liberties and Internal Affairs, the Sub-Committee on Human Rights and the EC-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, of which she was elected deputy chairperson. She also remained involved with the Foreign Affairs Committee as a substitute member.
Claudia Roth ended her work as an MEP when she became part of the Alliance 90/The Greens parliamentary group in the Bundestag after the German federal election, 1998. She became a member of the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union and a substitute member of the Committee on Internal Affairs of the German Bundestag.
Furthermore, she was elected chairperson of the new Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid.
On 9 March 2001, she was elected Federal chairperson of Alliance '90/The Greens at the party conference in Stuttgart and resigned as a Member of the Bundestag at the end of March 2001 as a result. At the same time, she was spokesperson of the Alliance '90/The Greens on women's affairs.
In October 2002, she was elected to the Bundestag as Bavarian lead candidate for Alliance '90/The Greens. Since then, she has been a member of the Bundestag's Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Cultural and Media Affairs. She is also cultural affairs spokesperson for the Alliance '90/The Greens parliamentary group in the Bundestag and chairperson of the German-Turkish Parliamentary Friendship Group.
On Friday, March 17, 2006, she reported herself to the German police for displaying a crossed-out swastika on multiple demonstrations against Neo-Nazis, and subsequently got the Bundestag to suspend her immunity from prosecution. She intended to show the absurdity of charging anti-fascists with using fascist symbols: "We don't need prosecution of non-violent young people engaging against right-wing extremism.