2 mar 2022 12:25 p.m

Despite calls from his own party to give up his position at Rosneft, former Chancellor Schröder is still employed by the Russian energy company. Now his own employees asked for a transfer and the SPD district association in Heidelberg is said to have filed an application against Schröder to be expelled from the party.

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is considered a longtime friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The former SPD politician is, among other things, head of the supervisory board at the Russian state energy company Rosneft. Especially since the escalation of the Ukraine conflict and the start of Russia’s “special military operation” in the neighboring country, the pressure on the former chancellor to give up his post and distance himself from Putin has been increasing. At the end of last week, on the online network LinkedIn, he publicly called on Moscow to end the war and “the associated suffering for the people of Ukraine as soon as possible,” but the 77-year-old is still the head of the Rosneft supervisory board.

According to consistent media reports, several of his long-standing employees now want to part with him. They would have asked for a transfer. For example, his long-time office manager and speechwriter, Albrecht Funk, has reportedly reported to the news portal The Pioneers the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung Turned his back on Schroeder. Funk, a social democrat from Hesse, who is said to have been one of Schröder’s closest confidants for around 20 years belongs, along with three other employees of the former chancellor’s office in Berlin, want to resign. Opposite the news agency Reuters the 53-year-old confirmed the reports with the words:

“I can confirm that the four employees in the office have asked to return to work in other capacities.”

Loud SZ However, Funk did not want to comment on the reasons for his request for a transfer. However, the newspaper speculates that the background could be “differences of opinion about Schröder’s behavior with regard to Russia’s war against Ukraine”. Also in that report at The Pioneer it is said that there were differences between Funk and Schröder over the Russian attack on Ukraine.

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According to reports, Funk has a right to return to the Federal Chancellery. It remains to be seen whether the chancellery will now approve new staff for the former chancellor The Pioneer. Last year, 407,000 euros flowed from the state treasury for personnel expenses in Schröder’s office, as can be seen from a response from the chancellery to a request from the left-wing faction. The expenses relate to the payment of employees in Schröder’s office.

In the meantime, demands have been made from the Union, but also from the SPD, for the former chancellor to be stripped of his office because of his continued commitment to Russian companies. At the weekend, SPD chairman Lars Klingbeil demanded consequences from Schröder. As he wrote on Facebook:

“You don’t do business with an aggressor, with a warmonger like Putin.”

As Chancellor a. D. one acts “never completely privately”. Klingbeil emphasized: “Especially not in a situation like the current one.”

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According to one report from SWR the Heidelberg district association has officially submitted an application for the exclusion of Gerhard Schröder from the SPD. The reason given was, among other things, that “the role” of the former chancellor as a supervisory board “in a war-related state company is not compatible with social democratic values.” An SPD member who supports an autocrat’s war is no longer acceptable. Sören Michelsburg, district chairman of the SPD Heidelberg, said in a statement:

“We gave Schroeder enough time to safely withdraw from his activities for Russian state companies, but now is enough.”

Schröder is also becoming increasingly unpopular and isolated outside of politics. According to information from the TV broadcaster, the Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund is considering worldto withdraw Schröder’s honorary membership. The Swiss media company Ringier put its consulting mandate on hold.

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