The former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder is coming under increasing fire, even from within his own SPD party, for accepting a plum job after leaving office that he may have engineered for himself. He is to head the shareholders committee of the new Russian-led North European gas pipeline, that Schroeder set up with Vladimir Putin.Former ally and Green leader Reinhard Buetikofer says the affair “stinks”, adding; “Schröder praised his friend Putin as a pure democrat, and now Putin gets a job for him. It looks to me like pure cronyism”. Work on the pipeline began on Friday and gas deliveries are due to start in five years time. The opposition Free Democrat leader Guido Westerwelle is also highly critical of Schröder’s acceptance of the job; “We need a code of conduct for government members after their time in office, a waiting period, because it is unacceptable for someone to plan for his future income through his political activity”, he said. Germany is even more dependant on Russian energy than the rest of Europe, and the political class is mostly united in its support of the plan, but the Poles and Ukrainians are afraid their energy supplies will be more vulnerable as a result.