Pressure on Schröder is growing: further consequences are imminent

Updated on 4/27/2022 3:32 p.m

  • The outrage about Gerhard Schröder continues.
  • Further steps against the former Chancellor with special ties to Vladimir Putin are now being discussed.
  • It’s also about money.

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The pressure on Gerhard Schröder because of his course towards Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is growing: In addition to being expelled from the SPD, the former chancellor is now also threatened with further consequences.

The call for sanctions against Schröder grew louder on Wednesday. The Bundestag is also discussing limiting the equipment for former chancellors.

In an interview with the Berlin boss of the “New York Times”, Schröder had fueled outrage at his behavior towards Russia. “I don’t do mea culpa. That’s not my thing,” he said in his usual flippant style in his office in Hanover.

Above all, his statements on the massacre in the Kiev suburb of Butscha were viewed negatively in the SPD: Schröder said he did not believe that the orders came from Putin, but from lower levels.

Esken calls on Schröder to leave the party

In addition, Schröder announced that he would only resign from his positions at Russian energy companies if the Russian President turned off the gas supply. Schröder was also willing to use his friendship with Putin for new mediation attempts.

“I’m doing what I can. At least one side trusts me,” said the former SPD leader about two months after Putin’s army invaded Ukraine. A previous mediation attempt by Schröder alone had remained without any discernible result.

SPD leader Saskia Esken called on Schröder to leave the party on Monday. “He earns his money working for Russian state companies,” she stated.

The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, Michael Roth, told the German Press Agency: “Another indication of the tragedy of the Schröder case is that we must seriously discuss sanctions against a former Chancellor who has become a Russian energy lobbyist .”

Other politicians from the FDP, Greens and CDU are now demanding such sanctions against Schröder. “He belongs as soon as possible on the sanctions list of Putin profiteers,” said FDP presidium member Moritz Körner to the “Handelsblatt”.

“He no longer belongs to the crème de la crème of German domestic politics, but to the crème de la Kremlin.” CDU foreign policy expert Roderich Kiesewetter also pleaded in the newspaper for sanctions – Schröder belongs to “Putin’s clique”.

In the newspaper, MEP Reinhard Bütikofer (Greens) called for sanctions to be examined against Schröder and others “who have now sold themselves to Vladimir Putin”. In addition, Schröder should be stripped of his official appointments as ex-chancellor. Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko had spoken out in favor of freezing Schröder’s accounts.

Kubicki questions the equipment of former chancellors’ offices

Bundestag Vice-President Wolfgang Kubicki questioned the usual equipment of the state-financed offices of former Federal Chancellors in general. “I think it is essential to have a fundamental discussion about the extent to which these follow-up offices of Federal Chancellors must be fully staffed for decades to come,” said the FDP politician to the editorial network Germany (RND/Wednesday). Former chancellors are provided with offices and staff, for example.

Last year, 407,000 euros flowed from the state treasury for personnel expenses in Schröder’s office, as a response from the chancellery to a request from the left-wing faction showed in February. However, several employees have already given up their jobs at Schröder in the course of the Russian war against Ukraine.

According to the “Bild” newspaper, the budget committee of the Bundestag is also discussing a deletion of the positions because of the vacancy that has already arisen. The parliamentary director of the Greens parliamentary group, Irene Mihalic, told the RND: “Discussions are currently taking place about revising the rules for the appointments of former chancellors.” This reform would then also affect Schröder.

Also read: All current information on Putin’s war against Ukraine in the live ticker

Schröder has been under pressure for weeks

Schröder has been under pressure for weeks. The SPD in Hanover gradually received 14 applications for a party organization procedure that could end in an expulsion from the SPD. Two months ago, the SPD leadership had asked Schröder to part with his posts at Russian energy companies – their corresponding letter went unanswered.

Schröder initially worked for the Nord Stream pipeline company shortly after leaving government office. He is still the chairman of the shareholders’ committee there.

He is also the head of the supervisory board at the Russian state energy giant Rosneft and is still registered in the commercial register as the chairman of the board of directors of Nord Stream 2 AG. He has been nominated for the supervisory board of the Russian gas giant Gazprom.

In the course of the war, the University of Göttingen is also concerned with the question of how to deal with Schröder’s honorary doctorate. Confirmed reports that Schröder attended the university have now given rise to speculation. However, further details remained unclear. (dpa/msc)

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Many countries showed solidarity with Ukraine after Russia’s attack and, among other things, sent weapons in support. They have now also become the target of Russian attacks.

Teaser picture: © picture alliance/AA/Sefa Karacan

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