Friday, April 22, 2005

German Minister Quizzed About Visas

The inquiry into the "visa scandal" in Berlin is the first such inquiry to be televised in Germany.

Observers note that although it is in most respects identical to other inquiries, the men have paid especial attention to their neckwear. Ludger Volmer, ex-Foreign Office Minister from the Green Party, and initiator of the visa regulations which led to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants entering Europe, was wearing an orange tie.

This is apparently a reference to the fact that the Green Party believes their visa regulations led to the wonderful peaceful Orange Revolution in Ukraine. That'll be news to the Ukrainians, but it's the Green Party line here in Germany.

Volmer says the new policy was framed for "humanitarian" reasons. The old regulations, presumably, were inhumane. Volmer made some rum revelations:

- he claims was not aware of the old regulations which his new regulations were to replace (so how come he brands the old rules as inhumane?);

- he was not aware of the many publicly-available warnings from diplomats that the new policy would cause serious problems;

- he pins the blame for the debacle not on the new relaxed regulations (since cancelled) but on embassy staff, who must have "misunderstood" the regulations.

Criminal incompetence or political mendacity? Who can tell, the two more often than not merge into each other in an unappetising way, and it's hard to make a call between "idiotic liar" and "lying idiot".

Volmer's boss, the repulsive Green Party icon Joschka Fischer, is due to appear for questioning this Monday. His testimony is unlikely to be quite as self-contradictory and foolish as Volmer's, so it will be interesting to see if he can wriggle out of taking any responsibility too.

The link is to the (German only) Rheinische Post.RP Online - Nachrichten - Zehn Stunden Volmer-TV

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