BERLIN – The chairman of the Eastern Committee of the German business lobby, Oliver Hermes, announced his resignation on Tuesday.
Hermes, who is also CEO of Dortmund-based pump manufacturer Wilo, chaired the so-called Eastern Committee for three years, which aims to promote business relations between Germany and Eastern European countries, including Russia.
Hermes cited the difficult business environment caused by Russia’s war against Ukraine as the reason for his resignation.
“Not only geopolitically, but also economically, the companies are facing a turning point,” he said in one press release in which he also condemned the war, but claimed that “mutual economic dependencies … potentially contribute to de-escalation”.
The lobby group, which exerts significant influence on German politics and business, has advocated close ties with Russia for years, ignoring the Kremlin’s territorial aggression and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s human rights violations and international rules until the February invasion of Ukraine.
When Putin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a nerve gas in 2020, Hermes warned of further sanctions against Russia. “We must not allow this case to develop into a long-term strain on our bilateral relations and further strain German-Russian economic relations,” he says called while the Russian opposition leader was being treated in a Berlin hospital.
The Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations was far from alone: German business leaders have long maintained close ties with Russia for economic reasons, and the government also supports Russian policies change through Handel, or political change through trade, until all collapsed with the outbreak of war, discrediting swathes of the so-called Putin understander — Putin apologizes — overnight.
https://www.politico.eu/article/head-germany-russophile-business-lobby-group-resign-oliver-hermes/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication The head of the Russophile business lobby in Germany resigns – POLITICO