Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder is a German politician who served as Chancellor of Germany from 1998 to 2005, during which his most important political project was the Agenda 2010. As a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), he led a coalition government of the SPD and the Greens.
Before becoming a full-time politician, he was a lawyer, and before becoming Chancellor he served as Prime Minister of Lower Saxony (1990–1998). He is currently the chairman of the board of Nord Stream AG and of Rosneft, after having been hired as a global manager by investment bank Rothschild, and also the chairman of the board of football club Hannover 96.
Following the 1998 national elections, Schröder became Chancellor as head of an SPD-Green coalition. Throughout his campaign for Chancellor, he portrayed himself as a pragmatic new Social Democrat who would promote economic growth while strengthening Germany’s generous social welfare system. In its first term, Schröder’s government decided to phase out nuclear power, fund renewable energies, institute civil unions which enabled same-sex partners to enter into a civil union, and liberalize naturalization law.
He also eliminated capital gains tax on the sale of corporate stocks and thereby made the country more attractive to foreign investors. The fact that Schröder served on the Volkswagen board (a position that came with his position as minister-president of Lower Saxony) and tended to prefer pro-car policies led to him being nicknamed the “Auto-Kanzler” (car chancellor).
Schröder’s plans after leaving office as Chancellor included resuming his law practice in Berlin, writing a book, and implementing plans for twin pipelines for Gazprom, Russia’s leading energy company. He was subsequently retained by the Swiss publisher Ringier AG as a consultant. He has since become a major keynote speaker in the political sphere.
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