Schroeder's behavior is absolutely scandalous. He's taking up a position at the head of joint venture between a Russian state-owned gas company and two German companies.
The affair also revived criticism that Mr. Schroeder's ties with Mr. Putin led him to overlook abuses of democracy and human rights in Russia.The former Chancellor of Germany is taking a position that raises serious questions about his period in office and that undermines Poland and the Baltic States, all EU members.
The $6 billion project has caused a diplomatic row with Poland and the Baltic states, which are being bypassed by the pipeline and stand to lose gas transit revenues as a result.
The Baltic Times has an interesting perspective. Schroeder's involvement may be a sickener, but at least the Germans and Russians aren't bombing one another.
While Schroeder's accepting the offer is ethically repugnant, we should welcome the spirit of cooperation between Berlin and Moscow, much of which the former chancellor helped usher in. Let the two countries build their gas pipeline, as long as they provide all the necessary ecological assurances that the Baltic Sea will not suffer in the least. For as the common wisdom holds, business partners don't bomb one another. If this be true, then may the German and Russian economies continue to integrate at full speed. All Europe will be better off.Lithuanianan MEP Vytautas Landsbergis takes a different tack.
By circumventing Ukraine, Poland, and of course, the Baltic countries, the new pipeline promises greater leverage to the Kremlin as it seeks to reassert itself regionally. President Vladimir Putin and his administration of ex-KGB clones will no longer have to worry about Western Europe when deciding how hard to squeeze Russia's post-communist neighbours.Surely this merits some concern here, no?
Should Europe really be providing Putin with this new imperial weapon? Worse, might Russia turn this weapon on an energy-addicted EU? That a German ex-chancellor is going to lead the company that could provide Russia with a means to manipulate the EU economy is testimony to Europe's dangerous complacency in the face of Putin's neo-imperialist ambitions.