Schröder loses lawsuit over chancellor offices

BERLIN. Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) cannot claim an office financed from tax revenue, as the Administrative Court of Berlin has ruled. “Retired Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has no right to an office to carry out ongoing tasks from the previous office,” the court said on Thursday.

Schröder had complained in the wrong direction, the judges justified their verdict. “Because the plaintiff received the rooms from the SPD parliamentary group and not from the defendant Federal Republic of Germany,” says the press release from the administrative court. Even if former chancellors have been given offices for more than 50 years, no customary law has yet developed.

The Social Democrat could not demand equal treatment with other former chancellors because he did not get his office from the chancellery. The premises would only be used by the Chancellery for general public functions, in certain cases for the representation of former Chancellors. However, this is not automatically enforceable. However, Schröder could still appeal the verdict.

Schröder’s fellow chancellors all have their own offices

The background to the legal dispute was the closure of the office last year. At that time, the budget committee of the German Bundestag decided to close Schröder’s floor in Berlin-Mitte, along with the employees. The official reason: Schröder no longer accepts any ongoing obligations from the office.

On the other hand, Schröder filed a lawsuit, arguing that it was state practice that former chancellors were given offices and staff. Schröder should be treated the same as other former chancellors. In fact, Schröder’s predecessors were each allowed to keep their offices for life. (fw/lb)

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