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April 12, 2023

Austria’s Position Regarding Romania’s Accession to Schengen Remains Unchanged, Interior

Austrian Interior Minister, Gerhard Karner, has once again emphasized that the country’s position regarding Romania’s accession to Schengen Zone has not changed at all, meaning that Austria will continue to oppose Romania’s joining in the borderless area.

His comments came as a response to the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, who recently conveyed to Romanian authorities Germany’s support regarding the issue while stressing that Germany wants Romania in Schengen this year, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

“Austria’s position has not changed at all. Freedom of movement in the European Union will only be possible in the case of robust protection of the external borders”,  Karner pointed out, according to Deutsche Welle.

The Minister considers that there is a contradiction in the German Chancellor after he wants to abolish controls at the border between Romania and Hungary while Germany continues to control the border with Austria.

“It is clear proof that the system does not work”, Minister Karner noted.

On Monday, the German Chancellor held work meetings with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca, as well as Moldovan President Maia Sandu during his visit to Romania, in which he expressed Germany’s support in order for this process to be finalized.

“Germany is firmly on Romania’s side. This also means (…) the goal of Romania finally obtaining full Schengen membership this year,” Scholz pointed out in a statement.

In addition to Germany, Spain’s Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, also reiterated its support for both Romania and Bulgaria’s accession to Schengen Zone. His comments came following the meetings held with his Romania and Bulgaria counterparts ahead of the Spanish presidency of the European Union in the second half of this year.

Earlier this month, the President of Romania, Kalus Iohannis, also said that he believes both countries will be permitted to enter the Schengen Zone. He also noted that both Balkan countries are doing everything they can in order to protect their borders and expect to receive a positive vote on their entry into the borderless area this year.

Unlike the Interior Minister and the country’s Chancellor, Karl Nehammer, the President of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen, also expressed his support regarding Romania and Bulgaria’s accession to Schengen. His comments came during a meeting held with the Head of Representation of the European Commission in Austria, Martin Selmayr.

On December 8, last year, Austria blocked the accession of both Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen zone. According to authorities in Austria, it was not the right time for both countries to become part of the Schengen Zone due to illegal migrant concerns.

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