European Parliament voted harsh resolution against Austria due to its Schengen veto

The resolution calls for Austria to be sued for discriminating against Romanians and for causing huge financial losses in Romania and Bulgaria.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution based on the petition submitted to the EP by civil society in Romania, which calls for challenging the legality of Austria’s veto against our country’s accession to the Schengen area. In addition, the resolution asks the European Commission to calculate the financial losses suffered by Romania and Bulgaria by not being admitted to Schengen and to find compensation mechanisms.

The resolution was adopted on Wednesday with 526 votes in favor, 57 votes against and 42 abstentions, according to a statement. The resolution has no legal force, yet it represents a political signal.

The resolution was drafted based on the petition submitted by former Energy minister Răzvan Nicolescu through the Association for Clean Energy and Combating Climate Change, which was supported by Romanian MEPs and debated on March 22 in the EP Petitions Committee (PETI). In the resolution, the European Parliament emphasizes that Romania and Bulgaria have already fulfilled the necessary requirements to be admitted to the Schengen area. The MEPs regret the EU Council’s decision of December 8, 2022 to reject Schengen membership status “without having presented any legal justification related to the accession criteria”.

According to the document, the fact that Romania and Bulgaria are still outside the free movement zone represents a burden for the companies and the population of the two countries from a social and economic point of view, MEPs argue. Citizens of Bulgaria and Romania are discriminated against because they face delays, bureaucratic difficulties and additional costs when traveling or doing business abroad, compared to their counterparts in the Schengen area.

The MEPs note that the delays at the border crossing points faced by Romanians and Bulgarians can last from a few hours to whole days – compared to an average of 10 minutes without internal border checks – which also worsens the working conditions for drivers trucks.

In addition to the damage caused to the EU single market by obstructing the free movement of goods between European member states, the text mentions the “irreparable damage” caused to the environment, which does not align with the climate neutrality objectives of the European Union. The health of drivers, customs agents and people living near border crossings is put at risk by increased pollution from the many vehicles waiting to cross the border every day, with around 46,000 tonnes of CO2 emitted each year, according to the MEPs.

The resolution asks the European Commission to estimate the financial losses, unrealized gains and environmental damage that Romania and Bulgaria have suffered since June 2011 due to the “negative and unjustified decision” adopted regarding the accession of the two countries to the Schengen area and to analyze the possible financial loss compensation mechanisms.

MEPs emphasize that the current situation “is instrumentalized by anti-EU propaganda, including Russian propaganda” and “undermines the EU’s ability to promote its values ​​and good governance in countries outside the EU”.

Currently, all EU member states, with the exception of Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania, are part of the Schengen area of ​​free movement, which also includes non-EU states (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein) . The European Commission has assessed that Bulgaria and Romania are ready to accede to Schengen, and the European Parliament has consistently supported the accession of the two countries, most recently in a resolution of October 5, 2022 and in a debate on December 14, 2022.

Association for Clean Energy and Combating Climate ChangeaustriaBulgariadiscriminatingEPeuropean parliamentfinancial lossesformer energy ministerPETIRazvan NicolescuresolutionRomaniaRomaniansSchengensuedveto
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  • Panagiotis Spyridis

    I think that the strategy of applying and gaining accession together with Bulgaria was wrong. The Bulgarians haven’t finished the migrant border fence with Turkey.
    Also the Austrians are insulting Romania so much that it is unacceptable. They do a lot of business here. They have no appreciation and respect to Romania.

  • Panagiotis Spyridis

    A few hours you say in the text for the border crossing! Well, I had to wait 4 hrs at the Ruse border crossing a month ago. It was bad.