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EU lawmakers urge sanctions on Germany’s Schroeder over Russia ties

EU lawmakers on Thursday called on the bloc to slap sanctions on German ex-chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and other Europeans who refuse to give up lucrative board seats at Russian firms.

The demand was made in a non-binding resolution approved overwhelmingly by the European Parliament focused on strengthening the European Union’s response to Moscow’s war on Ukraine.

Despite a huge outcry in Germany, Schroeder has stubbornly refused to relinquish posts with Russian energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom following the Kremlin’s invasion.

The parliament’s resolution “strongly demands” Schroeder follow others such as French ex-premier Francois Fillon in quitting their lucrative roles at Russian firms.

And it called on member states “to extend the list of individuals targeted by EU sanctions to the European members of the boards of major Russian companies, and politicians who continue to receive Russian money”.

The call from the parliament comes as Germany’s ruling coalition is seeking to strip Schroeder of official privileges like chauffeurs over his obstinate refusal to break off the ties.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who like Schroeder is from the Social Democratic Party, has also publicly urged the former leader to give up his Russian jobs, but to no avail.

Schroeder, who was Germany’s chancellor from 1998 to 2005, is chairman of the board of directors of Russian oil giant Rosneft.

The 78-year-old is also due to join the supervisory board gas giant Gazprom in June.

The gas group is behind the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia, which has been halted by Scholz in one of the West’s first responses to the war in Ukraine.

The EU has slapped an unprecedented barrage of sanctions against Moscow over its war on Ukraine and is currently trying to hammer out an embargo on Russian oil.

All sanctions have to be signed off by the bloc’s 27 members states.