Gerhard Schroeder resigns from Rosneft

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BERLIN (Reuters) – Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder resigned on Friday as head of state energy giant Rosneft amid growing calls in Europe for him to face sanctions unless he gives up his income from Russia.

Rosneft said Schroeder told the company it was “impossible” to continue in the role. Ex-adviser who took office $600,000 a year The company said in a statement that its position at Rosneft in 2017 – was “invaluable” in the implementation of large-scale infrastructure projects in Russia and Germany.

He still holds positions on the board of directors of Nord Stream 2 – which built the controversial and now suspended gas pipeline between Russia and Germany – as well as the parent company.

Chancellor of Germany from 1998 to 2005, Schroeder is a longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a member of the current chancellor Olaf SchulzeThe ruling Social Democratic Party. The 78-year-old politician was instrumental in deepening Germany’s energy dependence on Moscow – a relationship Berlin is now seeking to resolve. Schroeder became a growing embarrassment for his party and much of the country as Russia launched its new offensive in Ukraine.

In February, as Moscow massed its forces on the country’s borders, he provoked outrage by criticizing Ukraine for its “rattle of swords”. Since the war began, he has refrained from distancing himself from the Kremlin.

Ex-adviser and friend of Putin at the center of the Russian conflict in Germany

His decision to quit Rosneft came a day after the European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution urging the EU to extend sanctions to “European members of the boards of major Russian companies and politicians who continue to receive Russian money.”

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German lawmakers also approved a move that stripped him of the taxpayer-funded office and staff granted to him as a former chancellor. The changes, proposed by lawmakers in the ruling coalition, did not explicitly name Schroeder but linked those expenditures to official duties, making his office redundant. He still deserves to guard his security and his pension, which according to German press reports Over $100,000 year.

According to Schroeder, the decision is being reviewed legally Der Spiegel magazine. The former chancellor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Schultz called the decision to halt funding for Schroeder’s office “reasonable” but said sanctions against his predecessor were not necessary. Schulz asked him to resign from his positions on the board of directors.

Marcus Ferber, one of the lawmakers who drafted the European Parliament resolution, said: Reuters That a senior position in a major state-controlled corporation meant that Schroeder was “de facto cooperating closely with Russia”.

The resolution also called on former Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl to resign from Rosneft’s supervisory board.

The intervention was also intended to dissuade Schroeder from taking a position on the board of Gazprom, another major Russian energy company, according to Ferber. Gazprom announced in February that Schroeder had been nominated to its board of directors, and a decision is expected at the annual shareholder meeting on June 30.

It was the latest announcement in a decades-long relationship with Russian energy, which began when Schroeder used his last days in office in 2005 to bolster German gas ties with Moscow. Then – in the face of an election he seemed certain to lose – he left the campaign trail to sign a letter of intent with Putin to build Nord Stream 1, the first gas pipeline on the Baltic Sea between Germany and Russia. He became Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nord Stream Shareholders three weeks after leaving office.

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Schroeder was also instrumental in facilitating nord stream 2 dealIt is an $11 billion natural gas pipeline that connects Russian fields directly to Germany. The idea of ​​increasing Russian energy dependence was controversial in Europe, and the project was a sore point between Berlin and Washington until Schultz suspended ratification two days before the start of the war in Ukraine.

Public anger directed at the former chancellor has increased since the Russian invasion.

at recent days Interview With the New York Times, Schroeder called Putin’s war a mistake but stopped short of condemning Russia’s killing of civilians in Bucha, Ukraine. He said the incident “must open an investigation.”

He refused to repudiate his friendship with Putin and said he did not believe that the bloodshed that took place in Bucha was ordered by the Russian leader.

Zheng reported from Seoul. Marie Ilyushina in Riga, Latvia, contributed to this report.

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