Liberal MEPs push to add Gerhard Schröder to EU’s Russia sanctions list

The liberal Renew Europe group in the European Parliament wants to extend the list of those covered by the EU’s Russia sanctions to include Europeans who sit on the boards of major Russian companies, including former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

A draft resolution drawn up by Spanish MEP Luis Garicano and seen by POLITICO welcomes the EU’s “justified sanctions” against Russia. But the text, which will be voted on during a plenary session next week, also “calls on the Council to extend the list of individuals targeted by EU sanctions to the European members of the boards of major Russian companies, including notably ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.” Such a move has not yet been put forward by the bloc.

Schröder, German chancellor from 1998 to 2005, has been under pressure to resign from several lucrative positions he holds with Russian energy companies and to publicly denounce Vladimir Putin, but has done neither.

The German politician has strong ties to Moscow and was named chairman of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline connecting Russia to Germany just weeks after leaving office. Widespread fury about Schröder’s position was reignited late last month when the New York Times published an interview with the ex-chancellor in which he said he doesn’t “do mea culpa,” while also dismissing the notion that Putin was behind the massacre of Ukrainians in Bucha, near Kyiv.

“There is no better example of a case of revolving doors,” Garicano told POLITICO. “A man working for the Russian government after having worked to promote Nord Stream 2 … and is directly responsible for the existence of these German-Russian links … I think Europe is not doing enough.”

The Parliament’s two biggest groups, the European People’s Party and the Socialists and Democrats, have not yet agreed if they will back the draft resolution, according to officials. But Garicano and several other Parliament officials said they believe it will get majority support.

German MEPs from Schröder’s Social Democratic Party in the European Parliament did not respond to requests for comment. However, senior SPD figures in Germany have called for the ex-chancellor to be booted out of the party.

In March, Schröder made an attempt to broker a peace deal with Putin by flying to Moscow for talks.

The Renew Europe draft text also calls on the EU to extend the list of sanctions against Russian individuals to include the 6,000 individuals — including MPs and government officials — on a list published by the Anti-Corruption Foundation set up by Alexei Navalny, the jailed Russian opposition leader.