MOSCOW, February 15. /TASS/. Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is a decent man and if he joins the Board of Directors of Gazprom, it will be good for cooperation between Russia and Germany, President Vladimir Putin said after talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Today many Europeans are concerned about stability of supplies of Russian energy resources to the EU and, in particular, to Germany, Putin noted.
"If such a decision is made that Mr. Schroeder can join the Board of Directors of Gazprom, this will done with the purpose of control from an independent expert. This is what Mr. Schroeder is. He is a decent person that we respect and he sees his task in meeting the interests of his country. In any case, Germany, Europeans, will have a person who can both influence decisions and receive objective information directly from Gazprom. I believe that this will only be good for our cooperation, one can only rejoice over it," Putin said.
The President added that the decision on Schroeder's entry into the Board of Directors of Gazprom will be discussed in June, "but this is the business of Gazprom itself and independent experts, including Mr. Schroeder."
Putin called Schroeder's stay in the Board of Directors of Gazprom a natural thing because he was involved in organization of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 projects.
"There are five companies, which are involved in financing, including two large German energy companies. Nord Stream 2 has been ready for commercial operation since December 2021. The only question is the German regulator, which should make an appropriate decision on the start of supplies along this route," Putin added.
"Thank you, Mr. Schroeder"
According to the Russian President, German consumers should thank former German chancellor for the fact that now they can receive gas from Russia at a price, which is five times lower than that on the spot market.
Putin recalled that in the early 2000s, Russia, Germany and Ukraine signed an agreement on the creation of an international consortium to manage the Ukrainian gas transport system (GTS), while maintaining it under the ownership of Ukraine, in order to develop the GTS and maintain its technical condition.
However, later the new leadership of Ukraine, represented by Viktor Yushchenko, refused to implement the agreement. As a result, there was a threat to security of gas supplies to Germany and Europe as a whole.
"Back then Mr. Schroeder supported the construction of Nord Stream 1 [pipeline] and today Germany receives 55 billion cubic meters of gas via this route. This gas is supplied under long-term contracts at prices, which is three-four and five times lower, and at the peak of spot prices in Europe - even seven times lower, and now five times lower than on the spot market. Let German consumers - both industries and households - receive gas from Russia five times cheaper. Let German citizens open their wallets, look and answer the question: "Are they ready to pay 3-5 times more for electricity, gas and heat. And they do not want to do this, let them say 'thank you' to Mr. Schroeder, because this is the result of his work," Putin said.