Patience with former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is apparently at an end. Since he absolutely does not want to distance himself from his close friend Vladimir Putin, the former SPD chancellor is to lose his office. It could become concrete as early as this week.
Gerhard Schröder has apparently overtaxed the patience of the current parliamentarians. Since the former SPD chancellor, despite the Ukraine war, absolutely does not want to distance himself from his close friend Vladimir Putin, he is now specifically concerned with his appointments as former head of government. Government and opposition agree on this. It could become concrete as early as this week: SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich announced an application by the coalition parliamentary groups for the upcoming deliberations in the budget committee at the end of the week.
The traffic light groups are reacting to a push by the Union as part of the deliberations on the 2022 budget. “We will launch an independent proposal for the office of the former Chancellor in the budget committee,” said Mützenich. It should be about a budget note that should be presented at the end of the week in the so-called adjustment meeting of the committee on the federal budget for the current year. However, Mützenich did not comment on the content.
Greens: generally re-regulate equipment for ex-chancellors
Green party leader Britta Haßelmann spoke out in favor of a general new regulation for the equipment paid for by the state for former chancellors. “Clear rules” are needed on this issue, she said in Berlin. The coalition factions are currently working on a proposal that they would “certainly present shortly”. The fact that there is a need for action here is a “clear view” within the traffic light – “independent of Gerhard Schröder as a person”.
FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr campaigned for a regulation that would be supported by “all democratic forces in the Bundestag”. The official appointments granted so far are based solely on “state practice” and would have to be checked, said Dürr. A regulation is needed in particular on the question of how long former chancellors should be entitled to equipment.
Dobrindt: Gerhard Schröder “incorrigible Putin lobbyist”
According to CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt, the Union’s initiative provides for “ending the appointment of former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder”. This would therefore mean that his staff positions would be eliminated and further budget funds would be cut.
“I believe it is high time that the privileges for an incorrigible Putin lobbyist were ended,” said Dobrindt. According to Union circles, Schröder harms the country and Germany’s international reputation. According to Dobrindt, the application from the CDU and CSU should also be presented in the budget committee’s adjustment meeting.
The current applications are not the first attempts to cut state support for Schröder because of his close ties to Russia. Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) called for his office to be deleted. Bundestag Vice President Wolfgang Kubicki (FDP) at least questioned the staffing of the office.
call for legal regulation
So far, there has been no legal basis for the question of which equipment – such as office space and employees – former chancellors are entitled to at state expense. While the pensions of the Federal President and members of the Federal Cabinet are regulated by law, the provision of offices and staff is based on decisions by the Budget Committee of the Bundestag.
Left parliamentary group leader Dietmar Bartsch spoke out in favor of legally regulating the office equipment for former chancellors. He rejects a regulation that is only tailored to Schröder, even if he has “zero sympathy” for the former head of government, said Bartsch.
Schröder office: Employees resigned after the start of the war
Gerhard Schröder is currently entitled to nine positions for his former chancellor’s office, for which, according to the Bundestag, 407,000 euros flowed from the state treasury last year. Many of the positions are currently vacant because the employees resigned after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to the current ideas, the funds for employee positions, pension benefits and travel expenses are to be cut. Schröder should only be allowed to keep personal security.
The debate about cutting Schröder’s equipment was mainly sparked by his commitment to Russia. Schröder has not only maintained friendly contacts with the Russian head of state Vladimir Putin for years, but is also chairman of the shareholders’ committee of Nord Stream AG and head of the supervisory board at the Russian state energy company Rosneft. In addition, Schröder is running for a position on the supervisory board of the state-owned Russian energy company Gazprom.