Austria officially says NO to Romania’s accession to Schengen

President Iohannis: We shall negotiate until the last moment.

Austria’s Chancellor, Karl Nehammer, said on Tuesday that Austria opposes Romania’s integration into the Schengen Area. He made the statements at the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Tirana. The statement comes a day after Romanian Interior Minister Lucian Bode was in Vienna where he met with Interior Minister Gerhart Karner.

The Minister of the Interior made it clear. There is no approval from Austria for the expansion with Bulgaria and Romania. More time is needed. We have 75,000 unregistered illegal immigrants in Austria. That means they jumped the external border of the European Union and ended up in an internal country, like Austria. We have to answer these security questions first,” Nehammer said.

Minister Bode tried to convince his Austrian counterpart that there is no immigration corridor through Romania, but Karner remained on his position.

On the other hand, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis declared, also on Tuesday, in Tirana, that Romania will negotiate until the last moment.

It is still being discussed, it is being negotiated. On Thursday, this matter will be on the table of the Council in JAI format of the Ministers of Interior and Justice. There, for sure, this matter will be discussed in extenso. Until then, there is still a need for negotiations, it is still being discussed on the text of this decision. We are committed to staying determined until the last moment and to bring the decision where we want it. We will not stop discussing and negotiating until the last moment. Given that the decisions regarding Romania and Bulgaria are not exactly identical , the results cannot be exactly the same either. It does not mean that a convenient decision formula cannot be found for both parties”, said the head of the Romanian state.

The extension of the Schengen Area will be decided at the JAI, the Council of Ministers of Justice and Internal Affairs of the EU , Thursday and Friday.

The Minister of the Interior, Lucian Bode, retorted to the Austrian authorities, who categorically oppose Romania’s accession to Schengen, Bode saying that “the migratory flow does not pass through Romania and Romania is not the generator of this flow”.

“Categorically, our country cannot be undeservedly and unjustifiably sanctioned for this situation.The migratory flow does not pass through Romania and Romania is not the generator of this flow. Without a doubt, Romania meets all the technical conditions for accession to the Schengen area. The reports resulting from Romania’s two evaluation missions were positive and were discussed in working groups including the participation of Austrian representatives,” Bode wrote on Facebook.

In his turn, Romania’s ambassador to Austria, Emil Hurezeanu, sent an official letter to federal president Alexander Van der Bellen, on the day the Austrian chancellor declared that Austria opposes Romania’s integration into the Schengen area, stating that “time is still needed” to give a positive vote for the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to Schengen.

“The accession of my country to the Schengen area is not just a technical file, but a response to the expectation of the entire Romanian society, a society that was deeply involved in this process, and a confirmation of the contribution that we de facto already make by protecting the Union’s external border European Union and the Schengen area, to which we do not belong de jure. The support of the Republic of Austria has always been part of the edifice of our bilateral relationship, all the more surprising was the news that reached us a few days ago from the press that this support will be withdrawn. Under these circumstances, I am filled with a strong sense of concern that the achievements of our bilateral partnership, which we have strengthened and expanded for years with great efforts, could be turned into a plaything of current Austrian politics, not the last line by sacrificing the interests articulated through diplomatic channels (…)

With all these considerations in mind, allow me, Mr. Federal President, to address you with a cry for help, which should not be understood as a complaint or criticism, but rather the expression of my deep concern at the risk of a rupture in the valued Austrian tradition in diplomacy and communication, which endangers our constructive coexistence until now,” says Hurezeanu’s letter.


Die Presse: Extension of the Schengen area is not like an animal trade

​The extension of the Schengen area is not like an animal trade. The Austrian government should also know this, reports Die Presse.

“Among the newly arrived migrants seeking protection are those who have been granted asylum in Greece and are now heading for the northern part of the EU. The explanation for this development lies in the changes in the Greek legislation that cancel for those with the right to asylum both the living space and the food supply, which leads to problems of existence for many and is in clear contradiction with the directives to enter the EU. Until now the EU has accepted these violations of the law in silence and without the application of sanctions, the result being an irregular continuation of the road. If this situation is to be prevented, the correct address of attack should not be Romania and Bulgaria, but a country that has been part of the Schengen area for a long time, namely Greece,” the publications says.

“But also people seeking protection who have been in the Western Balkan countries for several months in conditions known to be very bad and stopped from moving on due to anti-epidemic measures, take the road to the West. They often try to cross borders, which leads to a high number of apprehensions, because the tax is not paid per person, but by the number of illegal crossing attempts. (…)

In this situation, it is more preferable to stage the migrant problem as “a Schengen-related problem”, and here we see again that evidence and legitimate rights have no value when it comes to temporary domestic political interests. Or that solidarity is something one-sided. For example, when Romania did excellently at the border with Ukraine with 2.8 million refugees; or when Bulgaria and Romania committed themselves to strengthening the eastern flank against the Russian threat. The European idea only exists when you can expect solidarity from all EU members, but also from Austria,” Die Presse notes.

austriachancellorDie PresseEU-Western Balkans Summit inKarl Nehammernopresident iohannisRomaniaSchengenTirana
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