The circular issued by the Federal Foreign Office in March 2000 , also incorrectly referred to as the "Volmer Decree" (or Fischer's Decree ), is supposed to have been issued by the then Minister of State in the Foreign Office, Ludger Volmer, following the Plurez Decree of October 15, 1999 and following a preparatory round in November 1999, a circular to regulate the “Procedure for issuing visas for entry into Germany ”. According to the EU Commission, the “Volmer Decree” violated the Schengen Agreement . According to his own statement in a letter to the editor, the “Volmer Decree” was written by Ludger Volmer “without the slightest intervention” when he was “unable to work in the clinic for two months due to a life-threatening illness.” It is also part of the visa affair .
It was about permission to enter the country for three months as a rule for tourist, scientific, medical or business purposes with the obligation to leave the country after three months (three-month visa). When entering the country (e.g. for hospital visits, trade fair visits, exchanges of scientists) there were difficulties in issuing visas. According to his own statement, Volmer himself did not participate in the creation of the text. According to his testimony before the committee of inquiry, it was only about those visitors who were not conspicuous or who were not known to be criminal in the Central Register of Foreigners (AZR) or in the Schengen Information System (SIS). The requirement for a visa was still:
- Financing must be guaranteed (e.g. through insurance, own funds or by submitting a declaration of commitment )
- The purpose of the visit must be free of contradictions
- Willingness to return must be proven
The decree came into effect on March 3, 2000.
With the decree, the German embassies were instructed to apply a procedure for issuing visas that fixed a margin of discretion in favor of the applicant: a refusal should no longer be made if there is any doubt about the applicant's willingness to return, but only if there is a sufficient probability that he will not return (" in dubio pro securitate "). If doubts were balanced, the application should be approved (“ in dubio pro libertate ”). The document signed by Joschka Fischer did not extend the scope of discretion of the German representations when issuing visas, but called for a benevolent use of the scope of discretion. Complaints from business and politics (Volmer: from the parliamentary room ) had demanded this.
Recording in public
The more important newspapers welcomed the new edicts. The FAZ headlined More goodwill in awarding practice . The Tagesspiegel headlined: More liberal practice in issuing visas . The members of the human rights committee of the German Bundestag (including the politicians Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger , Christian Schwarz-Schilling , Claudia Roth ) thanked Volmer in an exchange of letters.
In the period that followed, the number of three-month visitors, particularly from Eastern Europe , increased, particularly in connection with other measures ( travel insurance , travel agency procedures ) to facilitate the issuing of visas.
On October 26, 2004, a new decree stipulated that visa applications should be rejected if there were any doubts about willingness to return. The Volmer Decree was practically repealed.
At the beginning of 2005, in the course of the so-called visa affair , Volmer was accused of having promoted illegal human trafficking . In a previously completed procedure at the Cologne Regional Court, the decree was identified as being jointly responsible for the smuggling crime. Judge Höppner on this: "That was a cold putsch by the political leadership of the Foreign Office against the existing legal situation". This was rejected by the ex-minister of state Volmer in the investigation committee with reference to the text of the decree. The timing of the so-called visa affair is a defamation campaign. The committee chairman Hans-Peter Uhl described Ludger Volmer as an immigration offender .
Visa Investigation Committee
Ludger Volmer presented in a nine-hour interrogation in the investigative committee of the German Bundestag on April 21, 2005, under the leadership of Bundestag member Hans-Peter Uhl , that the decree was about changing a practice, which was also written to him by CDU members of the Bundestag had been criticized. For example, a man with a brain tumor was refused a three-month visa, although he was able to pay for the operation and travel expenses. The decree was requested, approved and supported by the Human Rights Committee of the German Bundestag. Also - contrary to allegations to the contrary - the legal situation has not been changed. Quotation from the decree: The German law on foreigners, the Schengen implementation agreement and the joint consular instructions of the EU partners bound by the Schengen Acquis are the legal framework for the issuing of visas to which the diplomatic missions abroad must adhere.
- tagesschau.de: Documentation - The Volmer Decree (tagesschau.de archive) - Volmer Decree in full
- Visa affair: EU Commission objects to Volmer decree. In: Spiegel Online . May 10, 2005, accessed September 7, 2015 .
- Ludger Volmer: Letters - Volmer Decree without Volmer - No. 30/2012, difficult restart for former green party leaders . In: Der Spiegel . No. 32 , 2012 ( online - August 6, 2012 ). Quote: "The" Volmer Decree "was written without the slightest intervention on my part when I was unable to work in the clinic for two months due to a life-threatening illness."