Germany strips Schroeder of official perks over Russia ties
Germany on Thursday removed official perks accorded to former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, assessing that he has failed to uphold the obligations of his office by refusing to sever ties with Russian energy giants.
“The coalition parliamentary groups have drawn consequences from the behaviour of former chancellor and lobbyist Gerhard Schroeder in view of the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the parliament decided.
“The office of the former chancellor shall be suspended,” it said, noting that Schroeder “no longer upholds the continuing obligations of his office”.
The Bundestag’s decision came as EU lawmakers separately called in a non-binding resolution on the bloc to slap sanctions on Schroeder and other Europeans who refuse to give up lucrative board seats at Russian companies.
Schroeder, who was Germany’s chancellor from 1998 to 2005, has been under fire for obstinately refusing to quit his posts with Russian energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom following Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
He has issued a statement condemning the invasion as unjustified but also said that dialogue must continue with Moscow.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who like Schroeder is from the Social Democratic Party, has also repeatedly and publicly urged the former leader to give up his Russian jobs, but to no avail.
Schroeder, 78, is chairman of the board of directors of Russian oil giant Rosneft, and also due to join the supervisory board of 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.
Schroeder himself signed off on the first Nord Stream in his final weeks in office, and currently heads the pipeline’s shareholders’ committee.