What happens next with the climate foundation in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which is largely financed by the pipeline operator Nord Stream 2? The chairman and former Prime Minister Sellering now commented on this.
Contrary to the express will of the state parliament and state government, the former head of government Erwin Sellering (SPD) wants to continue the controversial climate protection foundation Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The required dissolution is not possible under foundation law and for reasons of liability.
The legal situation is clear. “So for us as a foundation, a dissolution is off the table,” emphasized Sellering on Friday in Schwerin, referring to a report commissioned by the foundation’s board of directors from the Bochum legal scholar Katharina Uffmann.
The state foundation, which was founded in early 2021 and has since been managed by Sellering, has been heavily criticized. In addition to the public interest-oriented area of climate protection, it also included an economic area that helped the Russian state-owned company Gazprom to complete the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea, circumventing US sanctions. The line was completed in autumn 2021. The economic area is in liquidation, said Sellering. However, it is important to continue the work on climate protection. This is the “most important task of the century,” said Sellering.
Documents that have become public show that representatives of the Gazprom subsidiary Nord Stream had a direct influence on the drafting of the foundation’s statutes. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig (SPD) had admitted that there were talks, but rejected reports that Nord Stream 2 AG had been in charge of founding the foundation.
The foundation’s biggest donor was Nord Stream 2 with 20 million euros. It is unclear how much of this will remain after a possible tax levy. According to Sellering, an examination is being carried out to determine whether the foundation is exempt from gift tax. The country itself gave 200,000 euros to the foundation.
After the start of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, the German government stopped the commissioning of the Russian-German gas pipeline. Schwesig also distanced herself from the project she had always supported before. She is also personally criticized for her pro-Russia course for a long time.
The CDU foreign policy expert Norbert Röttgen had suggested Schwesig’s resignation because of her connections with Russia, which the Prime Minister, however, rejected. Sellering described the allegations against Schwesig as irrelevant, unjustified and sometimes disgusting.