Gerhard Schroeder is seeking to regain funding for his office, which was withheld amid controversy over his Russian ties
Gerhard Schroeder (former German Chancellor) has started a legal battle to get funding back for his office. The privileges were withdrawn in May by the Bundestag’s budget committee, his lawyers told broadcaster NDR on Friday.
Since the launch of Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine, Schroeder has been fiercely criticized for his work with Russia. However, the budget committee didn’t mention Schroeder’s apparent closeness with Moscow in passing the motion to deprive him of certain privileges. Officially, the new rule, which can be applied to other former chancellors, states that funding will be based “The office’s ongoing obligations” rather than on the status of the recipient. Schroeder’s lawyers filed a lawsuit on Thursday with the Berlin Administrative Court arguing that “the decision to deprive former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of his staffing is contrary to the rule of law.”
NDR interviewed one member of the legal team to explain that Schroeder wasn’t given the chance to speak to Helge Braun or present his argument to the committee. This represents “This is a direct violation of the dignity of humanity,” the lawyer said.
In a statement, sent to the DPA news agency, the legal team further explained that the Bundestag committee had claimed that Schroeder no longer takes care of the so-called “after-effects of official duties.”
“However, it is not specified what ‘after-effects of official duties’ actually are, how their perception or non-perception is to be determined and what procedure is to be followed,” the statement read.
These decisions remind us of an “absolutist princely state”The lawyers stressed that it should not be done in a democratic nation.
Last year, Schroeder’s office and travel expenses amounted to more than €400,000 ($412,000). The 78-year-old continues to receive a pension of €8,300 as well as personal security protection.
Schroeder won an important victory earlier this week. From 1998 to 2005, he was chancellor. However, the Hanover arbitration commission of Social Democratic party decided that Schroeder’s cooperation with Russian state owned companies did not breach its charter. Therefore, he avoided being removed from the party. However, Lower Saxony’s SPD leader Stephan Weil told media that while the commission’s decision should be respected, it does not change the party’s stance.
“For us it is clear: Gerhard Schroder is politically isolated with his positions in the SPD,” Weil claimed.
Amid pressure over his ties with Russia, Schroeder stepped down from his position on the board of Russian oil giant Rosneft and declined a nomination for a position on Gazprom’s board.
However, last month the former chancellor made it clear that he would still use every opportunity to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin as the “Diplomatic solution” in his opinion, is the only way to end the Ukrainian conflict.
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