SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert has criticized Gerhard Schröder's resignation from his position on the supervisory board of the Russian energy company Rosneft as a step that was too late.

The decision of the former SPD chancellor was "probably not entirely accidental," said Kühnert of the Düsseldorf "Rheinische Post", obviously with a view to the pressure on Schröder from the federal government, the Bundestag and the EU Parliament.

"Unfortunately much too late."

However, Kühnert kept a low profile on the EU Parliament's specific demand for sanctions against Schröder.

"I have no reason to hold a protective hand over him.

If there are clear, objective criteria for sanctions lists, then of course they apply to everyone.

Others will have to judge whether that is the case here.”

On the other hand, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) opposed the demand for sanctions and, with a view to the withdrawal of some of the former chancellor's privileges by the Bundestag, said: "This is the decision that is now necessary, I don't think any more are necessary."

Rosneft announced on Friday that Schröder would not extend his term as head of the supervisory board.

Schröder is also nominated for the supervisory board of the Russian energy company Gazprom and works as a leading lobbyist for the Gazprom subsidiaries Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2.

The Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer told the "Handelsblatt": "Neither Mr. Schröder nor the SPD will be able to leave this matter behind with half measures." He accused the Chancellor of refusing to speak plain language.

"Scholz's statements about the Schröder cause show hesitation." And: "Scholz speaks more as an SPD man and less as a chancellor."

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