Gerhard Schröder

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Gerhard Schröder (2015)
Signature of Gerhard Schröder

Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder (born April 7, 1944 in Mossenberg-Wöhren , today Blomberg ) is a former German politician ( SPD ). He was Prime Minister of Lower Saxony from 1990 to 1998 and the seventh Federal Chancellor from October 1998 to November 2005 . Since Helmut Kohl's death in June 2017, he has been the only living former Federal Chancellor in Germany. He was federal chairman of the Jusos from 1978 to 1980 and chairman of the SPD from 1999 to 2004 .

Between 1990 and 2002, Gerhard Schröder won five uninterrupted elections at the state and federal level as the top candidate of his party and is the only politician in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany who has so far succeeded.

Since the end of his political career, he has worked as a business lawyer and in various positions as a business lobbyist , including chairman of the supervisory board of Nord Stream AG (Baltic Sea Pipeline) and Rosneft and honorary chairman of the Near and Middle East Association .



Gerhard Schröder was the second child of the married couple Gunhild Erika Lauterbach (born October 2, 1913 in Burgstall ; † November 1, 2012 in Paderborn ) and Fritz Schröder (born September 12, 1912 in Leipzig ; † October 4, 1944 near Klausenburg , Romania) Born on a farm in Mossenberg ( Lippe ). Schröder's mother fled there with a friend to escape Allied air raids . Fritz Schröder grew up without parents and lived until 1939 as an often homeless casual worker and farm worker who was convicted of theft several times. After his release from prison in 1939, he moved with Erika Lauterbach, whom he had met in 1936, and daughter Gunhild (1939–2017) to live with his mother and stepfather Paul Vosseler (1906–1966) in Detmold, where they married on October 28, 1939. In 1940 he was drafted. He fell as a corporal of the Wehrmacht in retreat skirmishes on October 4, 1944 near Cluj in Transylvania during the Eastern Carpathian operation of the Red Army . He hadn't seen his six-month-old son. In 2001, Schröder's sister found the grave in Ceanu Mare .

Childhood, education and work

In 2004, Schröder described his youth to the public and declared that he was one of the poorest of the poor. With her work, the mother looked after the children, her parents, her new husband Paul Vosseler, who was divorced from her mother-in-law Klara Vosseler, and the three half-siblings Gerhard Schröders, Lothar († 2019), Heiderose and Ilse Vosseler, who came from the new Marriage emerged. The Schröders were dependent on welfare ( social assistance ). Regarding the reputation of his family, the future Chancellor said bluntly: "We were the anti-socials."

Schröder spent his childhood from 1945 to 1957 in Bexten (today in Bad Salzuflen ) and attended the local elementary school. In 1957 the eight-member blended family moved to a two-room apartment in Osterhagen , and until 1958 he attended primary school in the neighboring valley . He then completed an apprenticeship as a retail salesman in a porcelain shop in Lage until 1961 . As the only son of a father who died in World War II , Schröder was exempt from military service. After his apprenticeship he attended from 1962 to 1964 in addition to working in a hardware store in Göttingen a night school to complete the intermediate certificate and then can obtain the Hochschulreife first a year, the Siegerland-college in Weidenau and since 1965 the Westfalen-Kolleg in Bielefeld , at which he passed his Abitur in 1966 .

In the same year Schröder began studying law at the Georg-August University in Göttingen , which he completed in 1971 with the first state examination in law. After the legal traineeship at the Hanover Regional Court , the second state examination followed in 1976 .

In 1976 he was admitted to the bar at the Hanover Regional Court . He initially worked as a salaried lawyer and from 1978 as a partner in the Holtfort law firm in Hanover. He practiced this profession until he was elected Prime Minister of Lower Saxony in 1990 and represented Horst Mahler, who was imprisoned as an RAF terrorist at the time . He was also a representative of the accessory prosecution at the negotiation of the Nazi fememide on Nazi skinhead Gerd-Roger Bornemann, the son of a social democratic union official.

family and friends

Kim So-yeon and Gerhard Schröder (2018)

Schröder was married to Eva Schubach from 1968 to 1972, to Anne Taschenmacher from 1972 to 1984 and to Hiltrud Schwetje from 1984 to 1997 . Schröder's fourth wife from 1997 was the journalist Doris Schröder-Köpf (* 1963). After the state election in Lower Saxony on January 20, 2013, it entered the Lower Saxony state parliament on the state list of the SPD Lower Saxony .

In the spring of 2015 and in the autumn of 2016, it was reported that Schröder had separated from his fourth wife after 17 years of marriage. The biographer Gregor Schöllgen reports that the couple initially decided to continue the relationship in 2015. The divorce became final on April 11, 2018. In January 2018, Schröder introduced his new partner, the South Korean economic expert Kim So-yeon , whom he married on May 2, 2018 in Seoul .

Gerhard Schröder has no biological children, but is the adoptive father of Klara (* 1991), daughter of Doris Köpf and the journalist Sven Kuntze . The Schröder-Köpf couple had also adopted two Russian children: Gregor (* 2006; adopted in 2006) and Viktoria (* 2002; adopted in 2004) from Saint Petersburg . The family lived for a long time in an end-row house in the zoo district of Hanover . In June 2009 she moved into a villa on the edge of the Eilenriede in the Waldhausen district .

Since the Köpf-Schröder separation, Gerhard Schröder lived in an apartment in Hanover. He also owns two condominiums in a holiday home on the North Sea island of Borkum .

Gerhard Schröder is Protestant . In 2014 he said that he liked “the clarity, the closeness to reason and the absence of fuss” about Protestantism. The idea of ​​deriving political decisions from a dialogue with God never occurred to him.

Party career

Schröder has been a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) since 1963 . In 1971 he succeeded Herbert Schmalstieg as chairman of the Working Group of Young Socialists in the SPD (Jusos) in the Hanover district. From 1978 to 1980 he was also federal chairman of the Jusos as the successor to Klaus Uwe Benneter, who was excluded from the party . Schröder described himself as a "consistent Marxist ". He was assigned to the left wing of the "anti-revisionists" within the Jusos , but stated that his "factional thinking" was limited and that his substantive positions did not differ significantly from those of Benneter from the " Stamokap " wing. From 1979 he was a member of the SPD party council.

For the state elections in Lower Saxony on June 15, 1986 , the party's top candidate was initially Anke Fuchs , former Federal Minister for Youth, Family and Health . She renounced after Schröder announced his candidacy and secured the support of several district associations of his party.

As early as 1979, as Juso chairman, Schröder advocated strategic cooperation with the Greens . In the mid-1980s, there were discussions within the SPD about potential coalition partners, both at state and federal level, with the candidate for chancellor Johannes Rau ruling out a coalition with the Greens for the federal election on January 25, 1987 and for an absolute majority of the SPD sat. Schröder followed this line and in autumn 1985 already ruled out a red-green coalition for Lower Saxony after the state elections in 1986.

From July 16, 1994 to September 29, 1998, he was the successor of Johann Bruns as the state chairman of the Social Democrats in Lower Saxony.

In 1993, Schröder applied to succeed Björn Engholm , who had resigned as federal chairman of the SPD because of his earlier false testimony before the Barschel investigative committee. In the primary election of the SPD federal chairman in June 1993, Schröder ran against Rudolf Scharping and Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul , at the same time declaring his candidacy for chancellor for 1994, but was defeated by Scharping. Scharping accepted Schröder into his commission for the development of the SPD government program and appointed him responsible for energy issues . In Scharping's shadow cabinet for the 1994 federal election , he was assigned a super ministry for economic, transport and energy policy.

In August 1995, Schröder expressed doubts about Scharping's leadership qualities and denied him a renewed candidate for chancellor. After Schröder had declared that it was no longer a question of social democratic but of modern economic policy, the office of economic policy spokesman for his party was withdrawn from him. In November of the same year, after Oskar Lafontaine was elected as the new party leader and Rudolf Scharping was de facto ousted, Schröder was restored to the office of economic policy spokesman.

After Oskar Lafontaine's resignation from all offices in March 1999, Schröder was elected chairman of the SPD and held this office until 2004.

After Schröder had to accept a continuous loss of popularity, which observers attributed in particular to Agenda 2010, he decided to give up the party chairmanship. At a special party conference on March 21, 2004 , Franz Müntefering , chairman of the parliamentary group , was elected as the new chairman of the SPD. Schröder justified his decision at a press conference by saying that he had to "take care of government affairs even more intensively".

Member of the Bundestag and Landtag

Membership in the Bundestag (1980–1986)

In the federal election on October 5, 1980 , Schröder successfully ran for a seat in the Bundestag , to which he initially belonged for six years. He first represented the Bundestag constituency of Hanover Land I in parliament, which he won with 50% of the first votes. In the 1983 federal election , Schröder achieved 44.6% of the first votes and thus lost the constituency against the CDU candidate. He was nevertheless able to move into the Bundestag via the SPD's state list.

Membership in the Lower Saxony State Parliament (1986–1998)

Erich Honecker in Saarbrücken as part of his state visit to the Federal Republic of Prime Minister Oskar Lafontaine and the Lower Saxony opposition leader Gerhard Schröder, 1987

In the state elections in Lower Saxony in 1986 , Gerhard Schröder won the direct mandate in the Lehrte state electoral district and defended it in the next two state elections in 1990 and 1994.

Under Schröder's leadership, the SPD failed to become the strongest parliamentary group despite significant gains. The CDU lost its absolute majority, but was able to form the government coalition with the FDP with a narrow majority ( Albrecht V cabinet ).

Schröder resigned his parliamentary mandate and moved as SPD parliamentary group leader and opposition leader in the Lower Saxony state parliament , to which he was a member until 1998.

Like other leading SPD politicians, Schröder expressly took a distanced to negative attitude towards German reunification until 1989 . On June 12, 1989 the Bild newspaper quoted him from a plenary session of the Lower Saxony state parliament with the following words:

“After 40 years in the Federal Republic of Germany, you shouldn't lie to a new generation in Germany about the chances of reunification. It doesn't exist. And there are more important questions of German politics in Europe. "

In the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung on September 27, 1989, he stated that a policy aimed at reunification was "reactionary and extremely dangerous".

Minister President of Lower Saxony (1990–1998)

1990 with his third wife Hiltrud , a few days after his election as Prime Minister
Gerhard Schröder as Prime Minister of Lower Saxony in 1990 with his Bavarian counterpart Max Streibl

For the state elections in 1990 , Schröder was again the top SPD candidate in Lower Saxony and was elected Prime Minister on June 21, 1990 with a red-green parliamentary majority . In the two subsequent state elections in 1994 and 1998, Schröder was confirmed in office and, in his role as Prime Minister, was also President of the Federal Council from November 1, 1997 to October 27, 1998 .

State government Schröder I

In his first government declaration in 1990, Schröder formulated his leitmotifs: "Modernization of the economy, ecological reason, social justice and cultural diversity". Above all, he relied on “social democratic pragmatism”, which, however, repeatedly led to conflicts with coalition partner Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen .

During his tenure he was an advocate of a new consensus on energy policy. In addition, he reached an agreement with Hamburg on the assignment of the America port in Cuxhaven to Lower Saxony.

In 1992, as Prime Minister, Schröder came under pressure because of his commitment to arms exports and because Lower Saxony approved the asylum compromise in the Federal Council, which his coalition partner Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen rejected outright.

Like all Lower Saxony Prime Ministers, Schröder was a member of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG , in which the State of Lower Saxony holds 20% of the shares. A visit to the Vienna Opera Ball with his wife, to which he was invited by VW boss Ferdinand Piëch , was criticized in public at a time of social cuts.

State government Schröder II

In the Lower Saxony state election in 1994 , the SPD under Schröder's leadership achieved an absolute majority and from then on ruled without a coalition partner. In view of the country's high level of debt, he implemented a rigorous austerity program that was very controversial in the SPD parliamentary group because of the downsizing in schools and the police.

At the end of the second term of office, Schröder spoke out in favor of a fundamental change of course in environmental policy and a "controlled shift" of the euro.

State government Schröder III

After Schröder again won an absolute majority in the state elections on March 1, 1998 , SPD Federal Managing Director Franz Müntefering declared him the SPD's candidate for chancellor for the election to the 14th German Bundestag on September 27, 1998 on the evening of the election .

Federal Chancellor (1998-2005)

Federal government Schröder I 1998–2002

The result of the Bundestag election was a novelty in the history of the Federal Republic : for the first time a government coalition lost its parliamentary majority, and for the first time the parties that traditionally classed themselves as “ left of the center ” (SPD, PDS, Greens) received more than 50 percent of the Be right. However, during the election campaign the SPD presented itself as a party of a “new center”. With the result, Schröder was able to form the first red-green coalition at the federal level. Because it was the first time that representatives of the new social movements came to power, people spoke of the “Red-Green Project”, which was supposed to embody a change in the political culture of Germany.

Schröder's desk, Bonn 1999

Schröder was elected the seventh Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany on October 27, 1998 . After Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt, he was the third Social Democratic Chancellor. In his election Schröder received 287 votes against and 27 abstentions 351 votes, although the red-green coalition only held 345 seats. It was the first and so far only time that a German Chancellor was elected with "foreign" votes. Schröder was the only German Chancellor to date to avail himself of the opportunity to take the oath on the Basic Law without any religious affirmation . After a short time with Bodo Hombach , Frank-Walter Steinmeier became one of Schröder's closest collaborators as head of the Federal Chancellery in 1999 . On May 2, 2001, Gerhard Schröder was the first Federal Chancellor to move into the newly constructed building of the Federal Chancellery in Berlin.

Schröder described his style of government in the first term of office as Federal Chancellor as a " policy of the steady hand "; Depending on his political attitude, others classified him as pragmatic and factual or as populist or lacking in vision.

When preparing his reform projects, Schröder relies not only on the ministries and parliament, but also appointed a number of advisory bodies and commissions on individual issues. According to Schröder, they should serve to ensure a broad consensus among experts on the reforms that are being sought. Critics accused him of undermining basic democratic mechanisms . Proponents, on the other hand, stated that these bodies and commissions are only active in the run-up to legislative initiatives and have no effect on the later legislative process, which is exactly the same as with all other laws.

The commissions include the Alliance for Work, Training and Competitiveness , the National Ethics Council , the Weizsäcker Commission on the Future of the Bundeswehr , the Süssmuth Commission on Immigration to Germany, the Commission on Modern Services on the Labor Market ( Hartz Commission ), the Rürup Commission for the future of social systems and, from July 27, 2005, a commission chaired by Kurt Biedenkopf , which should submit proposals for a reform of corporate co-determination.

The SPD and Greens recorded poor results in several state elections in 1999. In the state elections in the eastern German states of Brandenburg , Thuringia and Saxony , the SPD suffered heavy losses and lost the absolute majority in Brandenburg. In Berlin she remained a junior partner in a grand coalition despite losses. In Saarland she was beaten by the CDU, which then took over the government. Only in Hesse did the SPD win, but the more severe losses of the Greens meant the end of the red-green coalition. The coalition parties also suffered losses in the European elections on June 13, 1999. In the course of the CDU donation affair, the polls of the SPD and the Greens later consolidated.

Domestic politics

Soon after the beginning of the legislative period , it became a problem that Schröder and Federal Finance Minister Oskar Lafontaine had different views on substantial economic and financial issues. The opposing views culminated in a power struggle, at the height of which Lafontaine left the government in March 1999 and gave up his office as party leader. Schröder then became federal chairman of the SPD (re-election in 1999, 2001 and 2003); Finance minister was Hans Eichel , who, as prime minister in the state elections in Hesse in 1999 , had missed the government majority for his coalition.

In domestic politics, the red-green coalition implemented parts of the election program “Innovation and Justice”. In August 2001, the option of legally registered civil partnerships was introduced for the first time . The citizenship law was modernized by the place of birth took account. The green card program should help attract IT specialists from abroad from 2000 to 2004 ; From 2005 this idea was expanded and the immigration law reorganized the immigration law .

The federal government introduced ecological aspects into tax law for the first time, including through the introduction of an electricity tax . Further elements of the tax reform 2000 in Germany were the lowering of corporate income tax for companies and the reduction of the entry and top tax rates of income tax as well as an increase in the basic tax allowance .

The government faced the long-term problem of making statutory pension insurance sustainable. After abolishing a demographic factor introduced by the previous government in 1999 , it introduced an equalization scheme in the pension formula that slows the rise of pensions . The opposition used the breach of the 1998 election promise to continue to link pensions undiminished to the development of net wages in 1999 for a nationwide poster campaign in which a cut-off likeness of Schröder with the inscription “Lies have short legs” was shown. With the Riester pension , a funded pension scheme named after the Minister of Labor Walter Riester , the resulting pension gap should be closed. A reorganization of the system of company pension schemes , which unfolds its effectiveness retrospectively for already existing direct insurance contracts , led those affected to an unexpected reduction in their entitlements, against which a permanent protest arose.

Under the Schröder government, with the so-called atomic consensus and an amendment to the Atomic Energy Act, the withdrawal from the economic use of nuclear energy began in 2000 . Further reforms concerned the education sector (including reform of the service law for university teachers). There were differences between the coalition partners on the issues of asylum seekers , arms exports and the Kosovo war .

Schröder's federal government did not achieve the goal of budget consolidation. The total debt of German public budgets rose between 1998 and 2005 from 1.165 billion to 1.490 billion euros. That corresponds to an average nominal annual growth of 3.6 percent.

Foreign policy
Schröder and George W. Bush on October 9, 2001

The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 changed the nature of the transatlantic relationship. The following day, Schröder said that he had assured the US President of Germany's "unrestricted solidarity". Critics said this was either pure rhetoric or too extensive. Proponents said that Schröder had put the common international concern in the foreground and expressed the emotional state of many Germans. Under Schröder, Germany took part in the so-called " fight against terror ".

On October 4, 2001 - for the first time in the history of NATO - the alliance case was decided.

On November 16 and December 22, 2001, the German Bundestag approved the participation of special forces in military operations in Afghanistan and in air surveillance through the AWACS systems. Parts of the two government factions in the Bundestag rejected the use of the Bundeswehr against the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Navy in the Horn of Africa . Schröder, although he could be sure of the approval of the opposition, chose the path of the vote of confidence - for the fourth time in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany - in order to obtain a majority for the participation of the Bundeswehr in the international Operation Enduring Freedom .

In 2001 the so-called Petersberg Process began on the Petersberg near Bonn to pacify Afghanistan and promote its reconstruction. Two further meetings in the following conference series took place again in 2002 on the Petersberg and in 2004 in Berlin.

At the beginning of the Iraq crisis, Schröder declared in March 2002 that Germany would not take part in the Iraq war without a UN mandate . In the summer of 2002, during the federal election campaign, he proclaimed the “German Way” as an alternative to “American warmongering” in Iraq and presented Germany as a peace power.

From January to June 1999 Schröder held the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union .

Federal government Schröder II 2002–2005

Gerhard Schröder at an election campaign event in Munich in 2002

In the federal election campaign of 2002 , the red-green coalition was long behind the opposition in all polls. Nevertheless, on September 22, 2002, the SPD and Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen again won a narrow mandate majority, with which the government coalition under Schröder could continue. Some observers attributed this to the good and effective media crisis management Schroeder in the flood disaster that in the late summer of 2002, shortly before the general election eastern Germany on the Elbe had visited their tributaries, and the rejection of a participation in that of the United States planned the Iraq war by the Federal Government back.

From 2002 to 2005 Schröder was bugged by the US secret service NSA ; this was the result of the global surveillance and espionage affair in February 2014.

After the Social Democrats lost governance to the CDU after 39 years in the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2005 , Schröder saw the basis for his policy being questioned. On July 1, 2005, he put the vote of confidence in the Bundestag , which was answered with 151 for, 296 against and 148 abstentions. This did not achieve the necessary majority for the chancellor. The fact that the Chancellor - similar to Willy Brandt in the confidence vote in 1972 and Helmut Kohl in the confidence vote in 1982 - intended to be defeated in the vote was critically discussed.

Schröder then applied for the dissolution of the Bundestag, which Federal President Horst Köhler approved on July 21. The Federal President scheduled early elections for September 18, 2005. On August 25, 2005, the Federal Constitutional Court rejected the complaints of two members of the Bundestag against the premature dissolution of the Bundestag and the convening of new elections.

In the 2005 Bundestag elections , the SPD received only 34.2% of the votes (222 of 614 seats) with heavy losses, which put it just behind the CDU and CSU faction. The votes of the governing parties were not enough for a red-green coalition, but neither could the CDU / CSU and FDP form a government.

At the request of the Federal President, Schröder remained in office after the constituent session of the new German Bundestag on October 18, 2005, until Angela Merkel was elected as his successor on November 22, 2005. He resigned his Bundestag mandate on November 24, 2005 and declared his retirement from politics. This made Schröder the first Federal Chancellor to leave the Bundestag immediately after leaving office. Schröder's Agenda 2010 was praised by Angela Merkel in her first government statement on November 29, 2005.

Domestic politics

After being re-elected as Federal Chancellor on October 22, 2002, Schröder again initiated conflict-ridden reform projects, such as health reform . At the beginning of 2003, Schröder discussed with representatives of the big banks the possibility of establishing a German bad bank to outsource burdensome investments and credit claims. Unemployment fell below 3.95 million for the first time in four years in 2000 and 2001, but has risen again since then.

On March 14, 2003, Schröder presented the Agenda 2010 , the largest and most important project of his chancellorship. The core of this reform was the Hartz concept that the “Modern Services on the Labor Market” commission, chaired by VW manager Peter Hartz, had been developing since February 22, 2002. Proponents saw Agenda 2010 as a step in the right direction and praised Schröder's courage to take unpopular measures. Critics - not only from the opposition, but also from the trade unions and the left wing of the SPD - complained about massive cuts in social services . In votes in the Bundestag, this criticism from within its own ranks remained clearly in the minority, but Schröder came under increasing pressure in the course of implementing the agenda. He had to secure the cohesion of the coalition several times by open or hidden threats to resign and by encouraging party supporters.

The Schröder government's freedom of design was restricted by an ever larger majority of votes from the CDU and FDP in the Federal Council . Schröder was repeatedly able to make concessions to get individual countries in whose government the CDU was involved to support his government policy in the Bundesrat. The governing coalition also lost a majority in the federal assembly .

Foreign policy

Although the German government refused to participate in the Iraq war as an ally of the USA, under Chancellor Schröder it allowed the US armed forces to use the military infrastructure in Germany for this purpose. The involvement of Bundeswehr soldiers in AWACS flights in Turkey at the time of the Iraq war without the prior consent of the Bundestag was criticized in 2008 by the Federal Constitutional Court as being illegal.

Like other EU heads of government, Schröder advocated the lifting of an EU arms embargo against China, which was imposed in 1989 after the bloody crackdown on the democracy movement, but this view could not prevail.

After verbal attacks by Italian politicians against the Germans, Schröder canceled a planned vacation in Italy in 2003.

Activities as a consultant and volunteer after a political career

Gerhard Schröder (2009)

On November 24, 2005, Schröder returned the parliamentary mandate he had won in the 2005 Bundestag election. Schröder is again working as a lawyer and has numerous other activities. He ruled out a political comeback in July 2012.

The critical view of Schröder's lobbyism is based on the view that Schröder is pursuing one-sided business interests for his own benefit in a way that is legal, but incompatible with his previous political task and damaging trust in democracy, using his political career as a revolving door and doing so his political principles relativized. Even during his political time in state and federal politics, he was often accused of appearing too close to business leaders; he was dubbed a “comrade of the bosses” and “car chancellor”. A questionable priority of the economy over political goals was noted in his attitude towards the autocracies of the Gulf states.

So far, Schröder has always rejected the allegations, and in some cases has also been prosecuted by lawyers or judicial authorities. Some turned out to be baseless.

Der Spiegel interpreted Schröder's economic activities as rivalry with Joschka Fischer , who advises on the rival project “ Nabucco Pipeline ”. According to the verdict of the Schröder biographer Gregor Schöllgen , nothing has damaged Schröder's reputation as much as his “Gazpromisation” ( Kurt Kister ), which caused a sudden fall in the favor of public opinion.

Work for Russian energy companies

According to Schröder's own statements, he was first confronted specifically with the question of working for Nord Stream AG , 51 percent of which is owned by Russian Gazprom , in November 2005 . He initially refused because he did not want to commit himself in the long term, which irritated Vladimir Putin . Schröder would not have wanted to let Putin down when he convinced him, because of the “European importance of the project”, to take over the chairmanship of the supervisory board at Nord Stream AG. Schröder should represent the interests of the shareholders. After the Gazprom CEO and close Putin confidante Alexej Miller announced the agreement with Schröder on December 9, 2005, Putin went public with it immediately because it was a success for him, a German ex-Chancellor for that Poland and the Baltic states having won the controversial Nord Stream pipeline project . He was thus directly involved in the Nord Stream project, which he always accompanied very benevolently as head of government and which he sealed with Putin on September 8, 2005. According to Manager Magazin, his salary as chairman of the shareholders' committee at Nord Stream should be 250,000 euros.

Both German politicians from all parties and members of the Russian opposition criticized Schröder's new occupation. Green politicians described the "brazen change of sides" as "political donkey" and "indecent"; Schröder ruined his reputation with it. Economics Minister Michael Glos (CSU) urged, indirectly referring to Schröder, to be more sensitive, but saw the pipeline project as an important contribution to the future security of supply in Germany and Western Europe. Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD), on the other hand, defended Schröder's assumption of what he believed to be a useful position for Germany.

The East Committee of German Business welcomed Schröder's new job, but criticized the way it was announced and the timing of the change shortly after the end of the Schröder government.

Schröder said that the public debate about his move to Nord Stream AG had exceeded his gloomy visions. For the German public it should be “just as normal a process” to work for a German-Russian project as for a German-French or German-American project. The criticism of his work was "petty", it was comparable to his previous work as a lawyer and was completely transparent. Schröder rejected the criticism of his government activities: “Speculations about an allegedly interest-based support for the pipeline project during my time in government are wrong and defamatory. My support for the Baltic Sea pipeline had nothing to do with the interests of Germany and Europe. That's why I supported this project when I was still Chancellor. The hunger for energy in Europe cannot be satisfied without Russia's abundance of raw materials. That is a truism, but that doesn't make it any less true. "

Schröder defended himself against the claim by Guido Westerwelle (FDP) that he had awarded Gazprom the contract to build the Baltic Sea pipeline with a successful injunction.

On March 31, 2006 it became known that after its election defeat, but before the end of its term in office, the Schröder government wanted to take over a state guarantee for a loan from the German banks KfW and Deutsche Bank in the amount of one billion euros for Gazprom . This was a guarantee for a so-called “unbound loan” that is granted by German banks to foreign companies in order to secure “national interests”. The Federal Government at the time was of the opinion that securing Germany's energy supply in the long term was a national interest. In the press it was criticized that this process happened within a short time in the last few months of the Schröder government. The German state has also taken on unusually high guarantees, because in the event of the Russian company's insolvency, it would have had to bear up to a billion euros.

The FDP accused of possible conflicts of interest because the German state co-financed Schröder's later work at Gazprom in this way. Schröder himself denied having knowledge of the guarantee. According to information from government circles, the then Minister of Economic Affairs Wolfgang Clement , Schröder's economic advisor in the Chancellery Bernd Pfaffenbach and State Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Caio Koch-Weser knew about the negotiations and approved the guarantee, but the Chancellor himself was "deliberately" not informed.

On April 18, 2006, Gazprom refused the loan, invalidating the guarantee. Lilija Shevtsova explains the rejection by stating that Gazprom wanted to prevent a scandal at the time and did not want to risk Schröder's reputation "because Gazprom and the Russian leadership consider him to be Gazprom's most important lobbyist in Europe and in the world".

On March 4, 2014, Schröder, Eckhard Cordes , chairman of the Eastern Committee of German Business, and Alexander Rahr , lobbyist for the gas producer Wintershall , from which Gazprom wants to buy large parts of German gas storage facilities, met in the Russian embassy in Berlin.

According to documents from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the publication of which the Tagesspiegel had requested in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act , Schröder organized a meeting in 2017 between Gazprom boss Alexej Miller and the German Minister of Economic Affairs Brigitte Zypries . Schröder contacted Zypries to talk to her about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Zypries was Minister of Justice in Schröder's second cabinet. In contrast to other lobbyists, Schröder had an appointment with the minister a few days after the first request. Schröder brought Alexei Miller with him to this conversation. The morning after the meeting, Gazprom announced that a “working meeting” between Miller and Zypries had taken place in Berlin. Schröder's role was not mentioned.

On September 29, 2017, Schröder was elected head of the supervisory board at the suggestion of the Russian government, which holds the majority of shares in the energy company Rosneft (50% plus one share). In Germany, Schröder's activity was criticized by numerous politicians and other well-known personalities .

In his new position, Schröder will exercise control over CEO Igor Sechin . It is unlikely that this will actually be possible: Sechin is considered the second most powerful man in Russia and, thanks to unconditional loyalty, a close confidante of Vladimir Putin.

According to the democracy researcher Wolfgang Gründinger , it is problematic when former politicians act as lobbyists in areas for which they were previously politically responsible. Then the suspicion arises that “they used their mandate to provide certain interest groups with advantages and thus to present themselves as a candidate for later lucrative positions.” Schröder's move to Nord Stream AG, which is dominated by the Russian state-owned company Gazprom, the most prominent example. As Federal Chancellor, Schröder had already played a key role in driving the controversial Baltic Sea pipeline of Nord Stream AG. Schröder's on-the- fly move to Nord Stream AG is often described with the term “ revolving door effect ”, which means the transition from a top politician to a significant position in a commercial enterprise. According to Stefan Meister from the European Council on Foreign Relations , Russian state corporations such as Gazprom pay former German politicians to represent their interests. Schröder is a well-known example. Such former politicians are still seen as influential representatives of Germany, although it is unclear whose interests they serve given their employment at Gazprom. Regarding the motives of the Chancellor, Jürgen Roth stated that he wanted to gain political and economic advantages for himself and large German corporations through his policy towards Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union .

Putin, Schroeder, Fischer and Russia's Foreign Minister Ivanov in St. Petersburg on 9/10. April 2001

Schröder also campaigned for the construction of the South Stream Pipeline from Russia, while he opposed the rival Nabucco Pipeline from Central Asia, which was supposed to make Germany more independent from Russia. In this context, he was criticized during his visit to Romania, Romanian newspapers headlined "Russia's representative in Romania". Russian critics of the regime describe Schröder as “Putin's agents of influence in Europe”, as “the Kremlin's most important lobbyists”; Igor Jakuwenko, a former Duma deputy and head of the journalists' union, sees a "Schroederization" of Western elites that obscures the true nature of Putin's politics.

Together with Vladimir Putin, Schröder initiated the Petersburg Dialogue in 2001 , which has since served as a platform for meetings between representatives of Russian and German business interests and German politicians. According to Stefan Meister from the European Council on Foreign Relations , this network enables lobbying.

In March 2018, the American medium Wall Street Journal , the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and German politicians such as Elmar Brok (CDU) and Cem Özdemir (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen) demanded that international western sanctions be imposed on Schröder because of his lobbying for Vladimir Putin should be issued. The German federal government, however, rejects such sanctions.

Other foreign policy activities

Ukraine war and annexation of Crimea

In connection with the war in Ukraine , Schröder appeared as a critic of the EU's policy towards Russia and pleaded for the West to show understanding for Putin's point of view. Schröder intervened in the Ukraine conflict, but rejected the role of mediator proposed by the left parliamentary group leader Gregor Gysi because an individual could not do this. The European Union, however, discredited itself as a mediator because of its partisanship for the opposition. “The unilateral support of the Europeans for the opposition makes it impossible for the EU to mediate in the conflict. Europe made the mistake of taking sides, it is now a party itself. ”That is why he recommended the United Nations. Schröder described Ukraine as a "culturally divided" country.

Because of these and other comments on the Ukraine conflict, in which he criticized the sanctions policy and accused the EU's crisis management of serious errors and a lack of understanding for the region, the Greens and conservatives submitted to the EU Parliament on March 13 at the initiative of the Greens / EFA - Group chairmen Rebecca Harms and Daniel Cohn-Bendit submitted a motion for a resolution, according to which the resolution on the Crimean crisis should contain a clause according to which Schröder should "not make any public statements on issues affecting Russia", as he has a conflict of interest because of his relationship with Gazprom stand 208 of the parliamentarians rejected this proposal and 167 voted in favor. The aim of the application was publicly perceived as a "muzzle" and criticized by Green politicians.

On December 5, 2014, Schröder supported an appeal entitled “War in Europe Again? Not in our name! ” Was signed by 60 prominent personalities. It criticized the “illegal annexation of Crimea by Putin”, but at the same time warned of a “disastrous spiral of threats and counter-threats”, urged a willingness to enter into dialogue and called for unprejudiced reporting. The FAZ ironically commented on Schröder's foreign policy position as: “Schröder's amnesia”, since he advocated the enlargement of both the EU and NATO in 1999 and 2004, and at the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008 he spoke out against Angela Merkel in favor of Georgia joining NATO.

On a wanted list initiated by the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior called Myrotvorets , Gerhard Schröder is listed as an "enemy of Ukraine" because of his attitude towards the annexation of Crimea.


In June 2005, Der Spiegel reported that Schröder was offered membership in an advisory group in which former leading European politicians were to work for the Kazakh government for an annual fee of 300,000 euros . Schröder admitted to having been a "special guest" of the international advisory group twice. According to his wife, Schröder wanted to take legal action against the mirror. He rejected the offers to work for Kazakhstan "on fundamental grounds".

Iran trips in 2009 and 2016

In his function as honorary chairman of the Near and Middle East Association , Gerhard Schröder traveled to Iran at the invitation of a neurosurgeon and met a. with the Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad , Parliament President Ali Larijani and religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei . The trip and the talks with the Iranian President met with some sharp criticism, also in the ranks of the SPD and the Central Council of Jews in Germany . Foreign policy experts, however, largely rated the visit as very positive, as it had brought new momentum to the deadlocked dispute over the nuclear program. Schröder is also said to have "rejected" the reported Holocaust denial by Ahmadinejad. The federal government also defended Schröder's visit.

In January 2016, Schröder again traveled to Iran in the same capacity at the head of a high-ranking business delegation. He met with the acting President Rohani together, also with the Expediency svorsitzenden and former President Rafsanjani , head of the Security Schamchani and the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif .

Activities as business advisor, speaker, ombudsman and publicist

Gerhard Schröder 2013 in Wittmund
  • Consultant for the Swiss publishing house Ringier and its Chairman of the Board of Directors Michael Ringier (since November 2005)
  • Adviser to the Libyan Investment Authority
  • Advisor to Rothschild Bank (2006 to September 2016)
  • Member and chairman of the supervisory board of the pipeline consortium NEGP Company (since March 30, 2006), a subsidiary of the Russian state-owned company Gazprom , for which he earns 250,000 euros annually
  • Member of the three-person board of directors of the Russian-British oil company TNK-BP, which is supposed to arbitrate disputes among the shareholders (resignation as supervisory board on December 9, 2011).
  • Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Herrenknecht AG
  • Chairman of the supervisory board of the operating company of the Hannover 96 football club from December 2016 to June 2019.
  • Arbitrator between Transnet and Deutsche Bahn 2006
  • Ombudsman at Continental 2008 against the takeover by Schaeffler.

Schröder represented the Federal Republic of Germany at the funeral service for the deceased Cuban politician Fidel Castro in December 2016. When Putin was sworn in after the 2018 election, Schröder was the second of only three people in the Andreas Hall of the Kremlin after the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church . who congratulated Putin, even before Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev .

Agencies arrange Schröder as a speaker, at prices between 50,000 and 75,000 euros. Schröder spoke about Europe in guest articles and interviews in German newspapers. Since May 2020 he has had his own podcast in which the former government spokesman Béla Anda asks him questions.

Social engagement, honorary positions, miscellaneous

Schröder speaks at the vernissage of an exhibition by his friend Jörg Immendorff . Munich, 2018

Political positions

Foreign policy


While Schröder's relationship with French President Jacques Chirac was considered cold at the beginning of his term of office , with a clash between them at the EU summit in Nice, contacts improved over time. Schröder was represented by Chirac at the EU summit in Brussels on November 20, 2003, in order to be able to be present in the Bundestag for votes on his reform projects - a gesture that was unique until then.

In its European policy, the Schröder government sought a European federation , but the proposals failed due to resistance from France. Since the beginning of his reign, Schröder demanded a common European seat on the UN Security Council, which was rejected. Schröder's urging led to counter coalitions around the world. It is also unclear which policy the Schröder government was aiming for in the UN. If Germany has pursued a balancing policy in the past, a one-sided attitude critical of America would benefit neither German nor international interests, according to Hacke.

Schröder also campaigned for Turkey to join the European Union. He saw the possibility that Turkey could act as a bridge between Orient and Occident . Critics saw the discussed acceptance of Turkey as an overstretching of the European Union. On 12 October 2005, a few days after the start of Turkey's accession negotiations with the European Union and four weeks after the lost 2005 election Schröder committed the first head of government of a Western country and its Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan , the evening fast-breaking in Ramadan .

Relations with Russia were characterized by a trusting relationship between Schröder and Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he described as his private friend, in whom he had a basic trust. Schröder created a "strategic partnership" between the two countries, by which he primarily understood a community of interests. In Russia, the strategic partnership was seen as an economic but not a social cooperation.

Even after Putin's inaugural visit, according to Hans-Joachim Spanger, the Chancellor had a tendency to show “demonstrative understanding” of the gradual tightening of Russia's domestic policy. In Hacke's assessment, Schröder's foreign policy was characterized by an apparent blindness to authoritarian developments in Moscow and Beijing. The “male friendship” between Schröder and Putin, who is undoing glasnost and perestroika and pursuing Russian claims to world power, should be understood against this background . The Schröder government also ignored developments in China such as anti-Japanese riots or nationalist currents in Beijing. This change towards partnerships with communist and post-communist elites corresponded to the America-critical zeitgeist of the time and aroused historically rooted feelings of solidarity, especially in East Germany.

In economic terms, the German government was accommodating to Russia. For example, Schröder canceled a large part of the 6.4 billion euro transfer ruble debt, so that Russia had to pay 500 million euro instead of the full amount. The German government also waived large sums of money when it issued bonds linked to claims against Russia and when Russia made early debt repayment. According to a report by the Federal Audit Office , the federal government suffered a loss of 1.2 billion euros.

Role of the armed forces

During Schröder's chancellorship, combat missions abroad were decided by the German Bundestag for the first time after the Second World War. Units of the Air Force were in the Kosovo war against Yugoslavia (now Serbia ) used; Army units were later involved in operations in Afghanistan .

After the end of the Cold War, the coalition government considered a realignment of German foreign policy to be necessary. Germany's position in the world must “normalize”, and Germany must also “take responsibility” for security in the world. Although the Kosovo war was viewed by opponents and later by Schröder himself as a violation of international law and a violation of the Basic Law (prohibition of the war of aggression ), there were no major protests with extensive resistance from the population. A turning point in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany , which was marked by clear pacifism , is considered to be Schröder's televised address on the entry into the war of the German armed forces on March 24, 1999, with which he argued the German people into the armed forces deployment. Public protests such as those during the Second Gulf War at the beginning of the 1990s remained virtually non-existent.

In 2002, Schröder expressly ruled out the participation of German troops in the 3rd Gulf War . This was positively received in the Arab-Islamic world and is considered a factor in the SPD's success in the federal election on September 22, 2002 . In 2013, Schröder was critical of a possible military deployment in the Syrian civil war .


In its public statements, however, the government strictly rejected a possible attack on Iraq in the 3rd Gulf War , even in the event of a possible resolution by the United Nations (UN). The reason for the rejection was the lack of a mandate from the United Nations and the lack of connection with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 . In view of the beginning of the election campaign for the 2002 Bundestag elections , Schröder was criticized by critics as a populist campaign maneuver; At this point in time, red-green lagged behind black-yellow in opinion polls. The position of the federal government was supported by a clear majority of the German population, which was also expressed in numerous demonstrations .

The negative German attitude in the UN Security Council probably contributed to preventing an international legal mandate for the war; However, Schröder's anti-war policy, combined with insufficient information for NATO allies, led to great tension with the Bush administration and criticism of Germany in large parts of the American public.

According to Christian Hacke , the difficulties with the allies can be traced back to Germany's inability to act in a coordinated manner within the framework of the UN in the Iraq crisis. The transatlantic relations are burdened by the fact that Germany responded to the "arrogance of American power ... partly with no less arrogant impotence", whereby the rhetoric of the Bush administration also worsened relations. Instead of the “unconditional moralizing 'no'”, the German government should have pushed for a UN solution together with France and Great Britain. As a result of Schröder's stance, which was supported by leading Union politicians in this matter, Germany's isolation was feared.

Germany fulfilled its obligations under the NATO treaty and did not withdraw the German personnel who constantly carry out airspace security in NATO AWACS aircraft. The coalition forces were allowed to fly over Germany during the war , German ABC units protected the US headquarters in Doha and the BND provided information on possible targets in Baghdad at US locations (see Iraq War ). These actions were viewed by various sides as Germany's participation in the war.

Democracy and human rights

Schröder supported the establishment of the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands The Hague . He was also involved in the adoption of the National Action Plan on Human Rights.

Schröder was criticized for his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his interpretation of the democratic conditions in Russia. In 2002, Schröder praised Putin's policy in the Chechen war and rejected criticism by the EU, particularly of Russia's military action against the Chechens . Regarding the Chechen presidential election, Schröder said that he could not identify any “sensitive disruption to the elections”, although international observers viewed the election as manipulated. In addition to other German politicians, Angela Merkel was also critical: “I find it shameful that the Chancellor does not have the strength to say publicly and loudly in Russia that there were irregularities in the election in Chechnya, that things are going badly freedom of the press and human rights stand ". Schröder defended the smashing of the Yukos group by Russian authorities: "I don't understand the excitement: no starting point that this did not proceed according to the rule of law ."

In 2004, on the Beckmann television program, Schröder answered the question of whether Putin, who many accused of destroying Russian democracy and systematic violations of human rights, was a “flawless democrat”. For this he was sharply criticized, including by Amnesty International . The human rights organization showed a complete lack of understanding for Schröder's public statements regarding Putin's policy and accused him of deviating from the European understanding of the rule of law , democracy and human rights . Schröder did not qualify his answer in 2014 either, but explained in his book Klare Wort “at that moment I was just thinking: If I answer no now, it will have foreign policy consequences” and regretted not having answered the counter-question, what? a flawless democrat. However, he criticized Putin's actions during the Crimean crisis.

Schröder followed a similar pattern with other states of the former Soviet Union . His federal government supported the Central Asian dictatorships . Germany, for example, was the only European country that allowed Sakir Almatov, the then Interior Minister of Uzbekistan , to enter for treatment in a German hospital. Almatov was one of those responsible for the bloody suppression of democratic aspirations.

The publicist Ralph Giordano criticized the fact that Schröder agreed in March 2012 to give the laudation for the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan in Bochum at the presentation of the “ Steiger Award ” for tolerance . In October 2017, Schröder met with Recep Erdoğan at the request of Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel . His goal was the release of the imprisoned German citizens Deniz Yücel , Mesale Tolu and Peter Steudtner . He helped to enable Peter Steudtner to leave Turkey .

In March 2015, Schröder criticized Angela Merkel's policy during the crisis and war in Ukraine and towards Russia; President Vladimir Putin had violated international law by annexing Crimea, but Putin would accept the remaining Ukraine as an "independent state". Schröder also characterized German policy in the Greek sovereign debt crisis as not enough European.

Energy policy

Under the Schröder government, Russia's importance as an energy supplier for Germany increased. The most visible energy project is the Nord Stream pipeline . In the summer of 2004, Schröder and Putin sealed a deal between the Russian state-owned company Gazprom and the German E.ON Ruhrgas . On September 8, 2005, Schröder and Putin signed the letter of intent to build the Nord Stream pipeline, which was supposed to supply Germany with Russian gas bypassing transit countries such as Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine. E.ON Ruhrgas has committed to participating in the North Pipeline and investing in Russian electricity generation. According to Schröder's own statements, he has "repeatedly encouraged" corporations to invest in the pipeline. Schröder saw this deal as an important step for the German energy supply. While Putin stated that the pipeline was about bypassing transit countries, which would lower the price for end consumers, Schröder was of the opinion that the project was not directed against anyone.

The project supported by Schröder created distrust within the EU. The Baltic States and Poland criticized the fact that they had not been adequately informed about the construction up to the conclusion of the contract in September 2005 and that the pipeline contradicted their economic and security interests. The dispute over the pipeline led to a serious crisis in German-Polish relations. In the Polish public and politics, Schröder's commitment to the Nord Stream pipeline and his subsequent move to Nord Stream AG was particularly sharply criticized.

Schröder is accused of increasing Germany's dependence on Russian energy supplies. Claudia Kemfert sees a connection between this dependency and German Russia policy. Against the view that Schröder pursued a national instead of a European energy policy because his orientation within the EU was not a majority and was even hostile to the EU, Stefan Raabe took the view that the project of the "strategic energy partnership" proclaimed in October 2000 and of 2000 to 2007 corresponds to the priority setting and trans-European network planning of the EU. Several critics attribute Schröder's reluctance to criticize Russia on human rights issues to the Russian energy power.

Development policy

Schröder was involved in the debt relief initiative - started at the G7 summit in Cologne in 1999 - and in the global increase in development aid at the G8 summit in Gleneagles .

In addition, the Schröder government decided to increase funds for the fight against the immunodeficiency disease AIDS from 20 million euros in 1998 to 300 million euros in 2004 and to approve 500 million euros in aid after the tsunami disaster off the island of Sumatra on December 26, 2004.

Economic and social policy

In economic and socio-political terms, Gerhard Schröder is considered a supporter of the political New Center . In the Schröder-Blair paper published in 1999 , he presented a modernization concept for European social democracy.

As Prime Minister, Schröder took an active part in efforts to rescue a branch of the Daimler- owned DASA aviation group in Lemwerder in 1994 .

Likewise, thanks to Schröder’s initiative in 1999, the bankruptcy of the construction company Philipp Holzmann AG could be temporarily averted, for which the federal government provided a guarantee. Both companies later had to cease operations. Schröder also got involved in the reorganization of the German banking landscape.

Far-reaching reforms were carried out under his government responsibility. With Agenda 2010 , Gerhard Schröder initiated a reform of the social system and labor market , which in some cases meant restrictions on state benefits for recipients of unemployment benefits and demanded more personal responsibility. The labor market has been liberalized . He later saw the merger of the two ministries for economy and labor from 2002 as a mistake.

The pension system was Schröder from a pure pay-as in a mixed form of funded pension schemes rebuilt and PAYG, resulting in a reduction of state benefits in the statutory pension insurance resulted.

In 1999 Schröder became chairman of the advisory board of the newly founded Initiative D21 e. V., Germany's largest partnership between politics and business to shape the information society.

public perception

Media Chancellor Schröder

Gerhard Schröder during a campaign speech for the 2005 Bundestag election
In one of his last campaign appearances one day before the 2005 federal election

According to Schöllgen, no chancellor has staged his life through media as consistently as Gerhard Schröder. Even as Prime Minister of Lower Saxony , he had a guest appearance in the ZDF multi-part series Der große Bellheim (1991) and in the RTL series Gute Zeiten, Bad Zeiten . In 1995 he was at the side of his then wife Hiltrud Schröder in the popular ZDF entertainment program Wetten, dass ..? to guest; on February 20, 1999 he appeared there again.

Schröder had the reputation of a "media chancellor", especially at the beginning of his reign, who paid great attention to his public appearance and was omnipresent on television in particular. Like no other chancellor before him, he relied on his impact in the media and his great popularity, which, according to opinion polls, was always far higher than that of his party. At the beginning of his first term in office in February 1999 he is said to have said that he only needed “ Bild , BamS and Telly ” to govern .

While many found his charisma to be particularly charismatic , his critics accused him of trying to influence his image in public through targeted catchphrases such as Neue Mitte , statements like "Basta!" Or the so-called politics of the steady hand .

In October 2006, Bild and Der Spiegel printed excerpts from his biography Decisions - My Life in Politics in advance . Schröder also appeared in a TV commercial for Bild to promote the preprint.

Shortly after the election to Chancellor Schröder in 1998 fell through for social democratic politicians hitherto rather unusual display of luxury ( Brioni -Suits and Cohiba - cigar ) on. Because of his good relationship with the economy, he was often referred to by the media as the “comrade of the bosses”.

Conflicts with the press

In 2002, Schröder obtained an injunction against the ddp press agency's claim that he was tinting his hair.

In March 2004, Schröder boycotted the Bild newspaper and other products from Axel Springer Verlag because, in his opinion, they reported too one-sidedly about government work. From this perspective, the boycott was described as a restriction of the freedom of the press .

Elephant Round 2005

Schröder's behavior in the so-called “ elephant round ” after the 2005 federal election was amused by some of the public, while others perceived it as an example of an unrepentant loser in the election. In the traditional television discussion at 8:15 p.m. on the evening of the election, when the official election result of the 2005 Bundestag election was not yet certain and the projections showed that the red-green coalition had clearly caught up with the previous polls, but no longer had a majority German Bundestag , Schröder's annoyance broke out at what he believed was campaign-like media coverage of the past few months about the red-green federal government and the survey results.

In view of the narrow gap between the SPD and the CDU / CSU, Schröder attacked the media and the opposition. Schröder accused the media of having portrayed his coalition too negatively in the election campaign and thus disadvantaged it through the published opinion polls, which had mostly predicted a narrow majority for a black-yellow government. For these statements he was criticized, among other things, by the German Association of Journalists . He told the moderators: "I will remain Chancellor, even if the media like you have worked against it."

Schröder admitted the defeat of the SPD: "We lost, that's no question, and that hurts me", but at the same time he asserted his claim to leadership in the formation of a possible grand coalition : "Only under my leadership". Regarding Angela Merkel's candidacy for chancellor , Schröder said: “But she will not manage a coalition under her leadership with my social democratic party. That’s clear. Make no mistake about it! ”And accused Angela Merkel of making“ claims to power based on formalities ”.

Schröder and Carsten Maschmeyer

The controversial investment entrepreneur Carsten Maschmeyer supported Schröder before the state elections in Lower Saxony in 1998 by placing a Pro Schröder advertising campaign in various national daily newspapers for DM 650,000. He is accused of trying to gain influence in politics. Under Schröder's federal government, Maschmeyer's company AWD was able to sell high-risk financial products in Germany - unlike in many other European countries. According to an employee of the State Chancellery, after the federal election was won, there was also a “thank you dinner” with Maschmeyer.

According to an internal AWD employee newspaper, Federal Chancellor Schröder is said to have declared to AWD executives in 2004: “As AWD employees, you perform a state-replacing role. Secure your clients' pensions, because the state cannot. ”This closeness to the Schröder government meant that many customers trusted AWD. The company brokered lossy funds to tens of thousands of Germans, some of which even financed their shares on credit and ultimately lost a lot of money.

Maschmeyer acquired the rights to Schröder's memoirs, and the sum paid was given as one or two million euros.

Schröder as a satirical object

During Schröder's tenure as Federal Chancellor, his person was parodied on various occasions . The Gerd show by Schröder impersonator Elmar Brandt achieved particular fame .

The single Ho mir ma ne bottle of beer by Stefan Raab , which was produced in September 2000 and contains an identical language excerpt from Schröder from a festival event, reached number two on the music charts in Germany.

Die Toten Hosen released the song Kanzler sein on the album Auswärtsspiel from 2002 , in which the tasks of Schröder are caricatured as a burden.

The tax song from 2002, also by Elmar Brandt, was number one on the German charts for seven weeks. Brandt called himself Las' Chancellors for this song , based on the Spanish band Las Ketchup , from whose then current song Aserejé (The Ketchup Song) the melody came.

At the annual Starkbieranstich singing game on Munich's Nockherberg , Schröder was imitated by a total of three actors for over 10 years, most recently by cabaret artist André Hartmann .

honors and awards


Schröder received the German Media Prize in Baden-Baden in 2000 .

In 2007 he received the Quadriga Prize in Berlin

Honorary doctorates

Schröder received honorary doctorates from the Tongji University in Shanghai (2002), the Saint Petersburg University (2003), the Marmara University Istanbul (2005), the mathematics and natural sciences faculty of the University of Göttingen (2005), the finance university of the government of the Russian Federation , from Damascus University in Syria (2007) and Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo (2007).

On May 28, 2008, he was elected as a corresponding member of the Department of Social Sciences in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAN). Schröder's services to European-Russian understanding and his work on social democracy were honored.

Honorary citizen

Since February 24, 2006 he has been an honorary citizen of his hometown Hanover .

Honorary memberships

On December 9, 2005, Schröder was made an honorary member of the German Football Association for his services to German football and when applying for the 2006 World Cup in Germany . He is also an honorary member of Borussia Dortmund .

Schröder is an honorary member of the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold, Bund aktiviver Demokrats e. V.



  • The challenger. In conversation with Peter Gatter. Kindler, Munich 1986, ISBN 3-463-40036-7 .
  • Approximations. Talk about pictures and artists. Merlin, Gifkendorf 1990, ISBN 3-926112-11-5 .
  • Matriculation examination. Reform policy at the end of the century . Kiepenheuer and Witsch, Cologne 1993, ISBN 3-462-02251-2 .
  • And because we are improving our country ... 26 letters for a modern Germany. Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 1998, ISBN 3-455-11244-7 .
  • The Franco-German relationship in an enlarged Europe. Speech on the occasion of the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Friends of the France Center on April 12, 2002 at the University of Freiburg. Rombach, Freiburg im Breisgau 2002, ISBN 3-7930-9335-2 .
  • Decisions. My life in politics. Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 2006, ISBN 3-455-50014-5 (updated and expanded edition Ullstein, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-548-36937-2 ) Also as an audio book (2 CDs) from Hoffmann and Campe ISBN 978- 3-455-30466-4 .
  • Clear words: In conversation with Georg Meck about courage, power and our future . Herder Verlag, Freiburg 2014, ISBN 978-3-451-30760-7 .


Web links

Commons : Gerhard Schröder  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: Gerhard Schröder  - in the news

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Gerhard Schröder: "We were anti-social". In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . December 14, 2004, accessed March 4, 2011 .
  2. ^ A b Gregor Schöllgen : Gerhard Schröder - Die Biographie, ISBN 978-3-421-04653-6 p. 41
  3. ^ Gregor Schöllgen : Gerhard Schröder - The Biography, ISBN 978-3-421-04653-6 , p. 20 [1]
  4. a b The Chancellor at his father's grave - honor for Fritz Schröder. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung. August 12, 2004, accessed March 4, 2011 .
  5. Schröder wants to visit his father's grave. In: April 17, 2001, Retrieved June 5, 2018 .
  6. ^ Gregor Schöllgen: Gerhard Schröder: The biography . DVA, Stuttgart 2015, p. 24.
  7. ^ Gregor Schöllgen: Gerhard Schröder: The biography . DVA, Stuttgart 2015
  8. a b Nadine Chmura, Regina Haunhorst: Biography Gerhard Schröder. In: LeMO-Biografien , Lebendiges Museum Online, Foundation House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany, accessed on December 7, 2019.
  9. ^ Anda / Kleine: Gerhard Schröder , 1996, page 30
  10. ^ Right army faction . In: Der Spiegel . No. 33 , 1987 ( online ).
  11. The Schröder couple go their separate ways. Hannoversche Allgemeine, March 26, 2015, accessed on March 27, 2015 .
  12. FOCUS Online: After harmony separation: Why is Doris Schröder-Köpf expressing himself now? Retrieved July 7, 2020 .
  13. ^ Gregor Schöllgen: Gerhard Schröder: the biography . First edition. Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-570-55341-1 , pp. 929 .
  14. Gerhard Schröder: The divorce is over! Now the way is clear for marriage number five. In: April 12, 2018. Retrieved June 8, 2018 .
  15. from Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - Fremdschämen with Gerhard Schröder , accessed on January 25, 2018
  16. Gerhard Schröder is married for the fifth time. In: Der Tagesspiegel. May 8, 2018, accessed June 8, 2018 .
  17. Tanja May: Wedding in Korea . In: BUNTE . tape 29/2018 , July 12, 2018, p. 37 .
  18. ↑ The Schröder couple adopted their second Russian child in Berliner Zeitung on August 18, 2006
  19. Former Chancellor Schröder moves to the Eilenriede in Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung on March 28, 2009
  20. The Schröders on their separate ways. Archived from the original on March 28, 2015 ; accessed on March 27, 2015 .
  21. ^ House on Borkum bought: Schröder ready for the island on n-tv from May 31, 2006
  22. Gerhard Schröder: Searching and doubtful in: Chrismon special from October 31, 2014.
  23. Wolfgang Becker: "Always at the limit of conflict". In: Der Spiegel , No. 8/1978, p. 49.
  24. ^ Gregor Schöllgen: Gerhard Schröder: The biography . DVA, Stuttgart 2015, pp. 143–147.
  25. a b c d e f g h i j k biography of Gerhard Schröder. In: Foundation House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany. Retrieved May 27, 2016 .
  26. Forward , June 1993, page DE
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