2009/06/05

Gerhard Schröder: political prostitute

As Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder was a strong advocate of the Nord Stream pipeline project, which aims to supply Russian gas directly to Germany and thereby bypassing transit countries. The agreement to build the pipeline was signed two weeks before the German parliamentary election. On 24 October 2005, just a few weeks before Schröder stepped down as a Chancellor, the German government guaranteed to cover 1 billion euros of the Nord Stream project cost, should Gazprom default on a loan. However, this guarantee had never been used. Soon after stepping down as chancellor, Schröder accepted Gazprom's nomination for the post of the head of the shareholders' committee of Nord Stream AG, raising questions about a potential conflict of interest. German opposition parties have expressed concern over the issue, as have the governments of countries over whose territory gas is currently pumped. In an editorial entitled Gerhard Schroeder's Sellout, the American newspaper Washington Post has also expressed sharp criticism, reflecting widening international ramifications of Schröder's new post.

Democrat Tom Lantos, chairman of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs, likened Schröder to a "political prostitute" for his recent behaviour. In January 2009, the Wall Street Journal that Schröder would join the board of the oil company TNK-BP, a joint venture between oil major BP and Russian partners.
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In April 2002, Schröder sued the DDP press agency for publishing an opinion of PR consultant Sabine Schwind saying that he "would be more credible if he didn't dye his gray hair". The court decided to ban the media from suggesting that he colors his hair. The Chancellor's spokesman said: "This is not a frivolous action taken over whether he does or doesn't dye his hair, but is a serious issue regarding his word." The agency's lawyer said that they could not accept a verdict which "does not coincide with freedom of the press."
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During a heated dispute between Russia and Estonia in May 2007 over the removal of a Soviet-era war memorial from the centre of the Estonian capital Tallinn to a military cemetery, Schröder defended the Kremlin's reaction. He remarked that Estonia had contradicted "every form of civilised behaviour". Consequently, the Estonian government cancelled a planned visit by Schröder in his function as chairman of Nord Stream AG. in en.wikipedia.org (June 5, 2009, 15:53 gtm)

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