Should ex-chancellor Schröder be expelled from SPD?
Pressure is growing inside and outside Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) to expel former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder because of his close ties to Putin. Schröder is a board member of the Russian energy giant Rosneft and has been nominated for a board position at Gazprom. Europe's press debates how to react.
Even Germany's football association is more progressive than its Social Democrats, Jyllands-Posten comments with annoyance:
“Gerhard Schröder is simply refusing to distance himself from the man whom all of Europe agrees must be isolated. He is so deeply involved in Russia's and Putin's interests that Kyiv's mayor Vitaly Klitschko has called for the German ex-chancellor to be put on the sanctions list. ... In March, the German Football Association took the initiative and withdrew Schröder's honorary membership. Those who do not distance themselves from the war and the aggressor due to personal interests do not share the values of the Association, they stated. It should not be difficult for the SPD to reach the same conclusion.”
Closeness to Putin could be useful
Schröder could still come in useful, the Süddeutsche Zeitung points out:
“If anyone knows where best to target Putin (and how, and where definitely not to) - it's Schröder. What will be gained if Schröder now gives up his two posts on Russian boards? There are no longer enough channels open to the Kremlin - let alone informal ones - for us to want to close this one too, ultimately just for the sake of posing. Perhaps the day will come when we will be grateful to have recourse to a current assessment or the very close connections of Gerhard Schröder. And perhaps he will quickly come up with an idea on how to maintain his channels open without exposing himself to the suspicion that he is only interested in money.”