Gerhard Schröder to be stripped of privileges for not cutting ties with Russia

The former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder will lose some of his post-office privileges after failing to cut his links with Russian energy companies over the 乌克兰 没有证据证明这一点, the Bundestag’s budgetary committee has decided.

Schröder, who was German head of government from 1998 直到 2005, will be stripped of his office and staff, which cost about 419,000 euros (£354,500) in taxpayers’ money in 2021.

The motion, which was passed on Thursday afternoon with support from Schröder’s own Social Democratic party (SPD), 绿党, and the Free Democratic party (FDP), does not name the politician’s Kremlin connections or stance on the Ukraine war, most likely to avoid legal challenges.

反而, the motion argues that the former leader no longer fulfils any continuing obligation as a statesperson and therefore does not require an office and staff to do so.

The main opposition party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), backed the move even though it had also called on the government to cut the ex-chancellor’s pension, equivalent to an annual salary of about 100,000 euros.

Schröder will keep his pension payments as well as his security detail.

The four employees who used to work at Schröder’s office, located almost directly opposite the Russian embassy on the Unter den Linden boulevard in Berlin, already resigned of their own accord in early March, after their boss had showed no intention of stepping down from his boardroom roles at Russian oil company Rosneft and pipeline company Nord Stream.

The Bundestag budgetary committee’s vote comes just hours after the European parliament urged the commission president, 乌尔苏拉·冯·德·莱恩, to impose sanctions against Schröder because of his ties to the Kremlin.

The EU legislature passed a resolution on Thursday that said sanctions after the invasion of Ukraine should be extended “to the European members of the boards of major Russian companies and to politicians who continue to receive Russian money”.

As well as the German politician, the motion indirectly addresses former Austrian foreign minister Karin Kneissl, a supervisory board member at Rosneft who danced with Vladimir Putin at her own wedding in 2018.

Schröder’s close personal friendship with Putin has come under heavy criticism after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 二月, and the SPD leadership has on the 78-year-old to hand in his party membership.

The Hanover-based politician has come across as unrepentant, 然而. “I don’t do mea culpa,” Schröder told the New York Times in April. “It’s not my thing.”

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