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Merkel: Last-minute decision on Euro 2012

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would be making a last-minute decision on whether to attend Euro 2012 in Ukraine, amid tension over the treatment of the country's jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Merkel: Last-minute decision on Euro 2012
Photo: DPA

She told regional newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger on Thursday that the law in Ukraine was a “cause for concern.” But added that, “I always decide on such things at short notice.”

Ukraine has come under intense pressure amid mounting concern for Tymoshenko, who was jailed for seven years in October in a controversial case that immediately damaged Kiev’s ties with the European Union.

Tymoshenko, 51, launched a hunger strike on April 20 to protest an alleged beating she received in prison.

Merkel stressed that it is important “to do everything” for Tymoshenko to “receive the appropriate treatment for her illness quickly.”

German media had earlier reported that the chancellor is preparing to instruct her ministers to stay away from the football tournament.

The Austrian government said Wednesday it would boycott all Euro 2012 football matches in Ukraine after the country’s chancellor announced a similar move.

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso has “no intention” of travelling to Ukraine, his office has said, following a similar decision by EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding.

AFP/jcw

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POLITICS

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.

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