Former Chancellor Schröder has been heavily criticized for his connections to Russia. Now he has announced that he has no plans to join the board of energy giant Gazprom. He had waived the nomination a long time ago and also informed the company of this, Schröder wrote on Tuesday evening on the online portal “Linkedin”. The authenticity of the contribution was confirmed to the German Press Agency from Schröder’s environment.
Gazprom nominated Schröder for a post on the committee in early February – shortly before the Russian attack on Ukraine. In an interview published by the New York Times in April, the former SPD leader left open whether he would accept the nomination.
The former chancellor had held various posts for the Russian energy industry over the years: a seat on the supervisory board of the energy group Rosneft and activities for the Gazprom subsidiaries Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2. On Friday, Rosneft announced that Schröder was resigning from the supervisory board post – the ex- Chancellor announced that it was impossible for him to extend his term of office.
The FDP politician Florian Toncar tweeted: “Rosneft, Gazprom – Gerhard Schröder cuts some connections. Whether due to pangs of conscience or the threat of sanctions remains to be seen. Supervisory board activities questionable proximity to Putin were incompatible with West German values long before the war of aggression. Nothing to praise about it,” wrote the Finance Secretary.
After the Rosneft decision, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) asked Schröder to stop further activities for companies from Russia. The Bundestag had previously cut his office and employees in response to his continued work for Russian companies during the war against Ukraine. The European Parliament had also called for EU sanctions against Schröder – which Chancellor Scholz rejected. At the same time, there are still procedures in the SPD to exclude him from the party.
Schröder’s party friend, Prime Minister of Lower Saxony Stephan Weil (SPD), had told the “Handelsblatt” shortly before Schröder’s renunciation of the Gazprom commitment became known: “Holding on to the previous mandates was stubbornness, accepting a new mandate on the supervisory board of a Russian one energy company would be a provocation.”