EU’s Pöttering threatens Olympic boycott

The president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, said a boycott of this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing should be considered if China does not rethink its actions in Tibet.

EU's Pöttering threatens Olympic boycott
Photo: DPA

“Beijing must decide,” said Pöttering in an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper. “It must negotiate with the Dalai Lama immediately.”

“We should not exclude the possibility of a boycott of the Beijing Olympics. We want a successful Games, but not at the price of the cultural genocide of the Tibetans,” he said.

Pöttering, a member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and the European Parliament’s conservative Christian bloc, said parliamentarians would discuss the situation in Tibet on Wednesday.

The Chinese military on Monday was maintaining a lockdown of Tibet and nearby provinces where deadly protests against China’s 57-year rule of the region have taken place over the past two weeks.

Beijing has insisted that exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, is masterminding the protests, and that the unrest is a deliberate campaign to sabotage the Games.

The CDU’s foreign policy expert, Eckart von Klaeden, said threatening China with a boycott was the wrong course of action. Rather, he advised taking Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao by his word to let international observers into Tibet.

Federal Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries (SPD) said she planned to extend the German-Chinese dialogue on democracy by two more years, despite the violent suppression of the protests in Tibet.

“Dialogue is our philosophy,” she said. “It’s about supporting China as it tries to build more democratic structures.”


Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has sued the German parliament for removing some of his official post-retirement perks over his links to Russian energy giants, his lawyer said Friday.

Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Schröder, 78, has come under heavy criticism for his proximity to Russian President Vladimir Putin and involvement with state-backed energy companies.

The decision to suspend Schröder’s taxpayer-funded office and staff in May was “contrary to the rule of law”, Michael Nagel, told public broadcaster NDR.

Schröder “heard of everything through the media”, Nagel said, noting that the Social Democrat had asked for a hearing before the budget committee responsible but was not given the chance to express himself.

READ ALSO: Germany strips Schröder of official perks over Russia ties

Schröder’s lawyers filed the complaint with an administrative Berlin court, a spokesman for the court confirmed.

In its decision to strip him of the perks, the committee concluded that Schröder, who served as chancellor from 1998 to 2005, “no longer upholds the continuing obligations of his office”.

Most of Schröder’s office staff had already quit before the final ruling was made.

Despite resigning from the board of Russian oil company Rosneft and turning down a post on the supervisory board of gas giant Gazprom in May, Schröder has maintained close ties with the Kremlin.

The former chancellor met Putin in July, after which he said Moscow was ready for a “negotiated solution” to the war in Ukraine — comments branded as “disgusting” by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Last week, the Social Democrats concluded that Schröder would be allowed to remain a member after he was found not have breached party rules over his ties to the Russian President.

Schröder’s stance on the war and solo diplomacy has made him an embarrassment to the SPD, which is also the party of current Chancellor Olaf Scholz.