BRUSSELS, May 19 (Reuters) – The European Parliament urged that former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder be blacklisted if he does not quit the board of Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft ROSN.MM in a move also meant to dissuade him from taking a top job at Gazprom GAZP.MM.
The draft resolution, which also explicitly mentioned Karin Kneissl, a former Austrian foreign minister under the government of Sebastian Kurz, was backed by the four biggest political groups in the EU assembly.
Critics say Schroeder, who as chancellor sponsored the building of more gas pipelines, deepened Germany’s energy dependence on a neighbour that has now turned hostile.
Schroeder was not immediately available for comment.
The Parliament “notes that former politicians (..) have recently resigned from their positions in Russian firms and strongly demands that others, such as Karin Kneissl and Gerhard Schroeder, do the same,” the document says.
The text is not binding, but it represents a significant pressure on the EU to act against Europeans seen as being close to the Kremlin.
So far the EU has agreed to freeze the assets of hundreds of oligarchs and officials linked to the Kremlin, as part of steps against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, but has refrained from directly targeting Europeans with top jobs at Russian firms which are seen as supporting the military operation in Ukraine.
The Parliament urges “to extend the list of individuals targeted by EU sanctions to the European members of the boards of major Russian companies and to politicians who continue to receive Russian money.”
“By serving in top positions of Kremlin-affiliated corporations, the former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is de facto closely cooperating with Russia,” said centre-right lawmaker Markus Ferber, who helped draft the resolution.
He noted that the resolution was also an invitation for Schroeder not to take a job on the board of Russian gas giant Gazprom, which is set to decide on its board’s composition at a meeting on Friday.
A spokesman for the EU foreign policy department had no comment on the parliament’s resolution but stressed that individual sanctions needed evidence and the backing of all 27 governments.
Schroeder is also chairman of the shareholders’ committee of the company in charge of building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Germany and Russia, a project now shelved.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; Additional reporting by John O’Donnell in Frankfurt and Vladimir Soldatkin, Editing by William Maclean and Hugh Lawson)