The Social Democrat swiftly moved from politics to lucrative business after losing office in 2005. He took up a well-paid job with Nord Stream, which operates a natural gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea – and which is majority owned by Gazprom.
The other former chancellors also have publicly funded transport, with Helmut Kohl having access to six cars including three Mercedes 600 SEL models, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Monday.
And Helmut Schmidt has access to four, including two fancy Mercedes 420 cdi cars which cost nearly €100,000 each.
The former chancellors’ cars have cost the country €1.265 million in purchasing, repairs and use, since they were introduced, Der Spiegel said, although it failed to say how long the publicly funded transport had been available to them.
The federal police, responsible for the personal security of the former chancellors, said such measures were necessary to protect them.
Left MP Gesine Lötzsch said it was ridiculous – “One former chancellor, one car,” she demanded.