Olaf Scholz dismisses EU Parliament call to sanction Gerhard Schröder over Russia ties

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday rejected a demand by the European Parliament to sanction Gerhard Schröder over his refusal to quit top jobs at Russian energy companies.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague, Scholz said that a move by the German parliament this week to strip Schröder of his taxpayer-paid office space in Berlin was “consequential” and “correct” and “will therefore be implemented.” But Scholz stressed that there should be no further punishment against the former chancellor.

“I do not think that anything else is necessary at the moment,” the current chancellor said when asked about a European Parliament resolution that was adopted on Thursday and which urges the EU to sanction Europeans still on the boards of prominent Russian firms.

“It would be best if Gerhard Schröder resigned from his positions,” Scholz added.

Schröder is a member of the board of Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft and was in February also nominated to join the board of directors at Russian energy company Gazprom. Shortly after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the staff of Schröder’s office in Berlin quit in protest over his refusal to stand down from those jobs. While the ex-chancellor is now set to lose his office space, he still gets a monthly allowance of €8,300.

At the press conference by Scholz and Rutte in The Hague, both leaders expressed optimism that Turkish opposition to the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO could be overcome.

“My confidence is very high” that the issue could be resolved, said Scholz.

“I trust that it will eventually be possible to find a common position on the accession of Finland and Sweden,” said Rutte.