Germany’s Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has admitted – for the first time – his mistakes in a scandal over travel visas.
He is accused of having ignored warning signs that criminal gangs were taking advantage of Germany’s lenient visa policy.
He had previously said he took political responsibility for the affair but today admitted he, too, had made errors.
“I made two mistakes,” he said. “During my time as foreign minister in the autumn of 1999, I gave two orders that were fulfilled. They made an already insecure situation regarding travel insurance documents even more insecure.”
Fischer has dismissed calls for his resignation but will face weeks of investigation by a commission, especially set up to examine the affair.
It was revealed earlier this month that tens of thousands of eastern Europeans entered Germany – many from the Ukrainian capital, Kiev – by exploiting loopholes in the country’s visa policies.