(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz increased the pressure on his predecessor Gerhard Schroeder to give up his lucrative jobs as chairman of both the state-owned Russian oil giant Rosneft PJSC and the shareholders’ committee of Nord Stream AG following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A Social Democrat like Scholz, 78-year-old Schroeder served as chancellor from 1998 to 2005, but the former leader has become an embarassment to his party for refusing to cut his close ties to Russian President Vladmir Putin and Moscow’s state-owned energy companies.
Scholz welcomed a decision by lawmakers of his ruling coalition to strip Schroeder of his office in the lower house of parliament.
“The decision of the German parliament regarding the former chancellor is logical and also something that should be implemented now,” Scholz told reporters after talks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Thursday in Den Hague. “It would be best if Gerhard Schroeder quit his jobs.”
Asked whether he would also support a move to put Schroeder on the European Union’s list of sanctioned individuals, Scholz added that he did not see the need for such a step for the time being.
Germany’s ruling alliance of Scholz’s SPD, the Greens and the Free Democrats agreed on Wednesday to withdraw Schroeder’s right to an office in the Bundestag. They will also link future perks for former chancellors to official duties that they perform after leaving office rather than granting them automatically.
The SPD last month urged Schroeder to leave the party and said a process to kick him out was underway. Schroeder, who lost to Angela Merkel in the 2005 election, has defended Putin over apparent Russian atrocities in Ukraine, saying he didn’t think those orders would have come from the Russian leader.
Finance Minister Christian Lindner has not ruled out Schroeder being added to the EU’s list of sanctioned individuals, though he cautioned that the legal hurdles for such a move are high and the government has not yet agreed a unified position.
Read More: Germany Strips Schroeder of Bundestag Office on Russia Ties
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