Joachim Pfeiffer is giving up his seat as Bundestag member after being accused of links to business. He was a critic of sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and worked with Vladimir Putin’s party representative in Europe. He was in charge of energy in the coalition party CDU.
Pfeiffer is a CDU politician and the party’s spokesman for the economy and energy. He said he was resigning as a result of “fabricated evidence” of business links that could impact his political activities. Spokesmen like him coordinate the work of party circles on a particular subject, such as energy, and speak on the party’s behalf.
Die Zeit found that the politician had been employed as an advisor by the Canadian company Hydroma, which wants to export hydrogen from Africa to Germany, while he was involved in the preparation of the country’s hydrogen strategy.
However, the Kontext weekly has found that Pfeiffer also had ties with lawyer Bertrand Malmendier, who was a consultant with Hydroma before Pfeiffer, and is linked to the United Russia party through his employment in the European Office of the Centre for Social Conservative Politics (CSCP), a think tank linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Pfeiffer was also said to have taken part in a German-Russian conference organised by Malmendier shortly after the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Claims made in 2014 and now repeated by the lawyer, who is associated with United Russia, about the energy interdependence of Europe and the Russian Federation also appeared in Pfeiffer’s statements in 2020. When his CDU party colleague Norbert Roetgen demanded a moratorium on the construction of the disputed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in response to the poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, he spoke out against it. In his view, such a move would be a “shot in the foot” precisely because of the energy interdependence that lawyer Malmendier spoke about after the annexation of Crimea. Pfeiffer also defended Nord Stream 2 in an article for the prestigious Handelsblatt newspaper on 10 February 2021. He expressed the opinion that US sanctions against the project are a way to promote liquefied gas, which is environmentally unfriendly and uneconomic.
Pfeiffer did not respond to any allegations, but is abandoning his mandate as a member of parliament.
By Martin Chomsky (photo: Joachim Pfeiffer Facebook)