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German Opposition Seeks Drone Inquiry

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Conflicting Statements: Drone Troubles Mount for Minister (excerpt)

(Source: Spiegel Online; published June 10, 2013)

German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière rejected calls to resign on Monday over losses from the Euro Hawk drone project. But he admitted knowing about the problems sooner than he had indicated last week and now faces a parliamentary investigation.

Pressure mounted on German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière on Monday when opposition parties said they would convene a formal parliamentary committee of inquiry to investigate the massive loss of taxpayers' money resulting from the cancelled Euro Hawk surveillance drone program.

The center-left Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left Party agreed to set up a committee, thereby reaching the required minimum of a quarter of all parliamentary seats needed to enforce a formal inquiry, which will take place before the September general election.

The announcement came after de Maizière gave testimony to parliament's defense committee on Monday for the second time in less than a week -- and failed to provide satisfactory answers.

"As Mr. de Maizière is evidently not prepared to provide comprehensive answers voluntarily, only a committee of inquiry can perform this task," said SPD floor leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

De Maizière is facing mounting opposition calls to resign over the abandoned contract for surveillance drones that is estimated to have squandered over €500 million ($660 million) of taxpayers' money. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Spiegel Online website.