The SPD refused to exclude Schroeder for ties with Putin and Russia

PThe SPD’s Artia Scholz refused to expel ex-Chancellor Schroeder for ties with Putin and Russia, the SPD Commission for the second time found no violations of the party’s charter or principles in Schroeder’s actions. Earlier, several party cells demanded that he be expelled, the SPD leader said that he himself should leave. He is accused of friendship with Putin

The SPD refused to expel Schroeder for ties with Putin and Russia

Gerhard Schroeder

In Hanover, the arbitration commission of the second instance of the SPD party in Hanover found no reason to exclude former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, seven regional party branches had previously demanded this, writes Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The Commission could not “determine with sufficient certainty” the fact of Schroeder’s violation of the charter, principles or party customs, or establish his guilt in a dishonorable act. The conclusion stated that “perhaps over the past 25 years, leading German politicians have incorrectly assessed the danger of dependence on energy supplies from Russia,” which can be attributed to many politicians from different parties.

The SPD’s regional cells in Berlin, Saxony, Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg expressed disappointment with the commission’s decision, pointing out that Schroeder’s work in Russian state-owned companies and refusal to distance himself from Russia’s military operation in Ukraine are incompatible with basic social democratic values.

The SPD representative said that they took note of the decision of the arbitration commission in Hanover, but this does not negate the fact that Schroeder is “politically isolated with his position on Russia” in the party. As Stern points out, the SPD party rules provide for exclusion as the most severe punishment. Schroeder himself told the publication that he was not surprised by the arbitration commission’s decision, since it is “politically consistent” and has legal grounds.

The regional branches of the SPD can now file charges against Schroeder with the Federal Arbitration Commission of the party. However, it is unlikely that they will decide on another hearing of the case against two acquittal decisions of the first and second instance commissions, notes Süddeutsche Zeitung. The SPD offices warned about the desire to discuss further actions.

For the first time, 17 regional branches of the party filed complaints against Schroeder last summer, party members were outraged by friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the fact that the former chancellor held high positions in Russian energy companies.

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The commission then also did not see any reason to exclude the former chancellor, pointing out that personal friendship with Putin does not violate the SPD charter. At the same time, they considered that it was appropriate for a member of the SPD to distance himself from the Russian authorities and the military operation, and not just call it a mistake. The Commission then decided that Schroeder’s statements did not go so far beyond the principles of the party.

Schroeder held the post of German Chancellor for seven years— in 1998–2005, after him the position was taken by Angela Merkel. Since 2017, he has chaired the Board of Directors of Rosneft, and also chaired the Shareholders’ committee of Nord Stream AG, the operator of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline.

Back in May last year, the SPD co-chair Saskia Esken said that Schroeder was obliged to leave the party.

He was repeatedly criticized for his close ties with Russia, the current Chancellor Olaf Scholz called on Schroeder to leave positions in Russian companies. The European Parliament in May adopted a resolution on sanctions against Schroeder if he does not stop cooperating with them. The next day, he resigned from the board of directors of Rosneft and declined an offer to join the board of directors of Gazprom. The former chancellor himself explained the decision by protecting the family and added: “It’s also unpredictable that they are satisfied with their sanctions zeal.”

Authors Person Tags

Vladimir Putin

politician, President of Russia

October 7, 1952

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