After leaving office, former German Chancellors are given a permanent office on the premises of the German Bundestag. Further institutionalising their role as elder statespeople of sorts, they are allotted a dedicated staff as well as perks like chauffeurs.
Schröder has maintained such an office since 2005, paid for by the German taxpayer, while also pursuing a lucrative career lobbying the German government for Russian state-owned gas companies.
But now parliamentarians from the ruling ‘traffic light’ coalition government, including the Social Democrats (SPD) that Schröder once led, will move to cut funding for these perks through a motion in the Bundestag’s Budget Committee.
Under the application by the three parties forming the government, Schröder will lose offices and employees paid for by taxpayers at an annual cost of around €400,000.
“The budget committee notes that the former chancellor Schroeder no longer upholds the continuing obligations of his office,” said an application due to be put before the committee Thursday.
His office “will therefore be suspended”, said the document seen by AFP.
The opposition Christian Democrats are also likely to toughen any sanctions against Schröder, including a proposal to cut his €6,000 per month pension.
German media reports say the ex-Chancellor will still receive state-funded security.
After leaving office, Schröder, who led a coalition with his own Social Democrats and the Greens, became a lobbyist for Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom.
Ever since, he has maintained a close personal friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Schröder currently chairs the shareholder’s committee of the now cancelled Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The 78-year-old is also due to join the supervisory board gas giant Gazprom in June.
Even after Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, Putin was still spotted at Schröder’s 70th birthday party. Since Russia’s full invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, Schröder has refused to sever his ties with Russian state-owned businesses.
SPD Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has also called for the Social Democrats to kick Schröder out of the party. Party co-chair Saskia Esken recently confirmed that the party was examining petitions to remove Schröder, while saying that she herself thought he should quit.