Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has filed a lawsuit in a local court against the German parliament to get his office back, his lawyer confirmed to local media on Friday.
The German parliament’s budget committee in May stripped Schröder of some of his allowances as a former chancellor, including his office space and staff. But in an unprecedented step, Schröder has demanded that he regain his office in the parliament with employees, a privilege available to all ex-chancellors.
Schröder, from the Social Democrats, has faced strong blowback for his continued ties to Russia, which have included seats on the boards of Russian energy companies and personal links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The budget committee did not explicitly justify the cancellation of some of Schröder’s privileges as due to his Moscow connections, instead issuing a new regulation that former chancellors who don’t have ongoing obligations connected to their former role should no longer be given an office, and ruling that Schröder did not do so.
Schröder’s lawyer called the decision unlawful, adding that it remains unclear what “ongoing obligations” actually mean and how it can objectively be judged.
Earlier this week, Schröder survived an attempt to expel him from his own party. An internal Social Democrat arbitration committee rejected official requests by 17 SPD branches to boot the controversial ex-chancellor, saying he had “not been guilty of a violation of party rules.”
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February, Schröder has met with Putin twice. After his latest trip to Moscow in July, the former chancellor gave a widely criticized interview, where he again called for negotiations with Russia, outraging the Kyiv leadership.