German ex-chancellor Schroeder under EU pressure over Rosneft, Gazprom

In an attempt to discourage Gerhard Schroeder from taking up a high-ranking job at Gazprom, the European Parliament demanded that he be removed from Rosneft’s board.

The four largest political parties in the EU assembly backed the draft resolution that explicitly mentioned Karin Kneissl as a former Austrian foreign Minister under Sebastian Kurz’s government.

Critics claim that Schroeder, as chancellor, supported the construction of more gas pipelines. This increased Germany’s dependence on a neighbour that has since become hostile.

Schroeder could not be reached immediately for comment.

“The Parliament notes that former politicians (..) recently resigned their positions in Russian companies and strongly requests that others, like Karin Kneissl or Gerhard Schroeder, do the same,” says the document.

Although the text is not binding on the EU, it puts pressure on them to take action against Europeans they perceive as being too close to the Kremlin.

The EU has so far agreed to freeze the assets of hundreds of Russian oligarchs and officials connected to the Kremlin as part of its steps against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, it has resisted the temptation to directly target Europeans who hold top positions in Russian companies that are supporting the military operation in Ukraine.

The Parliament calls for an “extension of the EU sanctions list to include European members of the board’s major Russian companies as well as politicians who continue to receive Russian cash.”

Markus Ferber (centre-right lawmaker) helped to draft the resolution.

He pointed out that the resolution was also an invitation to Schroeder to not accept a job as a board member of Gazprom, the Russian gas giant. Gazprom is due to make its decision on Friday at a meeting.

The spokesperson for the EU foreign policies department did not comment on the resolution of the parliament but said that each sanction needed to be supported by all 27 countries.

Schroeder is also the chairman of the shareholders’ board of the company responsible for building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Germany and Russia. This project has been abandoned.


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