Germany: Schröder sues the Bundestag for cutting his privileges as former chancellor in response to his closeness to the Kremlin | International
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Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has filed a lawsuit against the Bundestag – the Lower House of the federal Parliament – to recover the rights that corresponded to him due to his status as former head of government, of which he was stripped at the end of May. Schröder, very close to the positions defended by the Kremlin, asks for the return of the right to have an office with staff, financed by Parliament, according to his lawyer, Michael Nagel, told the DPA agency.
Nagel’s law firm has filed a complaint with the Berlin Administrative Court on this matter on behalf of Schröder. The lawsuit considers that the decision to close Schröder’s office is not typical of a democratic country. “These types of decisions are reminiscent of those of an absolutist state,” adds the text collected by DPA.
The deputies who withdrew part of his privileges from the Social Democrat, who governed Germany between 1999 and 2005, justified their decision as a way of “applying the consequences of his behavior […] before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Schröder’s lawyer affirmed this Friday on NDR public radio that the decision is “illegal” and that the former chancellor found out about it through the media.
The former Social Democratic politician has been the subject of innumerable criticisms for his professional relationship with Russian energy companies, as well as for his closeness to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Two weeks ago, in an interview with the magazine SternSchröder blamed the Siemens company for the delay in the shipment of a turbine, apparently key in normalizing the flow of gas through the Nord Stream I gas pipeline. Although he described the war as a “mistake by the Russian government”, the former chancellor maintained that he does not see the need to sever his ties with Putin.
Apart from the nods to Russia, Schröder refused at the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine to resign from his positions in Russian companies. Finally, at the end of May, the former politician ended up resigning from his position at the Rosneft oil company and declining an offer from Gazprom. He made this decision just after the Parliament annulled part of his privileges. The chamber’s regulations indicate that the endowment for former chancellors must be made in accordance with “the continuous obligations of the position.” And the deputies considered that Schröder’s did not require the investment of 400,000 euros of public resources, including staff, which in 2021 were allocated to his office.
For Schröder’s lawyers, the decision of the Bundestag budget commission that annuls these funds is “illegal”, as described in the published statement. “It is claimed that former Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is no longer exercising his so-called subsequent official duties. However, what those retroactive official duties are is not specified; how compliance or noncompliance should be determined; and what procedure should be followed in this regard, ”continues the text of the Nagel law firm, considered one of the most renowned criminal lawyers in Germany.
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Last week, Schröder scored a major success when the SPD refereeing committee in Hannover, his hometown, rejected his expulsion from the match on the grounds that he had not broken the organization’s rules. This triumph has encouraged the former politician to sue against the Bundestag’s decision to withdraw funds for his office. Despite the withdrawal of the budget for his office, the former chancellor maintains a personal protection device financed by the State, in addition to his monthly pension of 8,300 euros.
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