German Minister for Foreign Affairs gives evidence about visa practice

Monday, April 25, 2005

Berlin (Germany) - Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Joschka Fischer, a leading figure in the German Green Party, gave evidence in front of an investigation committee. Fischer is blamed for the award of visa practice. The German embassy in Kiev gave thousands of visas which were abused by criminals.

Fischer opened with a two hour speech explaining the visa practice from his point of view, and accepting responsibility for mistakes. He accused the conservative opposition of exaggerating the problem and campaigning against him and the government.

The investigation committee questioned Fischer about the visa program under the new liberalised rules, passed under the previous government. Fischer noted that his visa practice was mainly a succession from the Kohl government, and that a liberal handling of the visa practice was a political decision. He argued for more freedom of travel, especially for citizens under authoritarian governments such as the former Ukraine government and the current in Belarus.

For the first time, sessions of an investigation committee are being broadcasted live on television.