Parties: SPD boss: Schröder is acting in his own interest

Berlin (AP) - SPD co-chair Saskia Esken sharply criticized former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder for his statements about Russia's President Vladimir Putin's alleged willingness to negotiate in the Ukraine war.

Parties: SPD boss: Schröder is acting in his own interest

Berlin (AP) - SPD co-chair Saskia Esken sharply criticized former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder for his statements about Russia's President Vladimir Putin's alleged willingness to negotiate in the Ukraine war. "Gerhard Schröder is not acting as an ex-chancellor, but as a businessman, and that's how we should interpret his statements," Esken told the newspapers of the Funke media group. "With everything he does and says, he acts in his own interest and in that of his business partners."

Schröder has long been criticized for his closeness to Putin and the Russian oil and gas industry. In the opinion of many SPD comrades, even after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, he did not sufficiently distance himself from Russia.

At the end of July, the former chancellor paid another visit to Putin in Moscow and then gave an interview to Stern magazine and the RTL and ntv channels in which he said, with regard to the Ukraine war: "The good news is that the Kremlin wants a negotiated solution." These and other statements in the interview met with massive criticism across all parties in Germany, but also internationally.

A decision on the SPD's party order proceedings against Schröder should be made next Monday. The Arbitration Commission of the SPD sub-district Hannover Region is responsible. However, the legal hurdles for a party penalty or even an exclusion are very high. Esken said: "There are numerous applications for this, and the party order process is ongoing. How that ends does not depend on my opinion, it's a legal question." The SPD leader herself suggested that Schröder leave the party in April.

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