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February 6, 2023

Reactions after Austria’s opposition to Romania’s accession to the Schengen area

President Iohannis: Austria’s opposition, is deeply unfair for our country and the Romanian citizens

The lack of consensus today regarding Romania’s accession to Schengen, against the background of Austria’s opposition, is deeply unfair for our country and the Romanian citizens, president Klaus Iohannis said.

“Romania deserved to receive a favourable vote. It is confirmed by the solid data, the results of the recent evaluation missions of the Member States and the European institutions. Only one member state has chosen to ignore these realities and to block European unanimity, inexplicably and difficult to understand for the entire European Union. Austria’s regrettable and unjustified attitude at today’s meeting risks affecting European unity and cohesion, which we so desperately need especially in the current geopolitical context,” the president said, after the JHA Council.


Foreign Ministry rejects the “totally inadmissible” position of Austria to vote against Romania


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) firmly rejects the “totally inadmissible” position of Austria to vote against the Decision on Romania’s accession to the Schengen area, at the Council of Justice and Internal Affairs (JAI) and considers that “Austria has singularized itself and self-isolated within the European Union”.

In a statement sent on Thursday, the MAE considers that this result is “completely unfair and devoid of any objective motivation”, especially in the context in which Romania acted with “openness and transparency” in the relationship with all European partners, including Austria, and the degree of preparation of our country in applying the provisions of the Schengen acquis has been repeatedly confirmed by EU and member state experts, most recently during the two evaluation missions that took place in October and November 2022.

“Unfortunately, Austria decided to ignore all these elements with the negative vote expressed today, in flagrant contradiction with the favorable position expressed by the other member states and despite the intense political-diplomatic efforts carried out on the Austrian side, at all levels, through which the Romanian presented convincing, realistic and relevant arguments to the Ministry of the Interior and the other authorities in Austria, both regarding the level of technical training and concrete elements regarding the protection of the external border of the EU”, the quoted source says.

Also, the MAE specifies that “Austria’s position is all the more inadmissible as this position of non-acceptance of Romania was expressed for the first time on November 18, 2022”.

“Two days before, on November 16, 2022, Austria expressed full support for Romania’s formal and official accession to the Bucharest meeting of the Salzburg Forum, through the Joint Declaration of the Ministers of the Interior adopted on that occasion, including by Austria, a text which mentions “the support, presented in this format, for a positive decision related to the accession of Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia in December 2022”, says the MAE.

At the same time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs appreciates that invoking by the Austrian side of the problem of the increase in the migration flow, as justification for the opposition to Romania’s accession to Schengen, is “unacceptable, incorrect and unfair”.

The MAE transmits that all the data officially provided by the Frontex Agency of the EU clearly indicate that Romania is not on the migratory route of the Western Balkans, does not face migratory pressure and is not a source of secondary migratory movements.

“On the contrary, Romania actively contributes to the management of the risk of illegal migration, and the exemplary way in which it managed the flow of refugees as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine represents additional proof in this regard, appreciated by all European and Euro-Atlantic partners”, he also points out cited source.

“The MAE regrets the unwanted consequences that Austria’s negative vote today has on European unity and cohesion. Especially in the current complicated geo-strategic context, marked by Russia’s war against Ukraine and Russia’s persistent attempts to fracture European unity, Austria’s conduct represents an unwanted political signal regarding the EU’s ability to act in the direction of strengthening the European construction, especially in the conditions in which Romania has proven its clear commitment to actively contribute to the consolidation of European action and integration based on the principles of solidarity and unity”, the MAE also transmits.


PM Ciuca: Romania deserves and it will enter Schengen


Romania deserves to enter Schengen and will enter this space of free movement, prime minister Nicolae Ciuca declared on Friday, once again criticizing the vote against our country’s accession given in the JHA Council on Thursday.

“At yesterday’s JHA Council, Europe was with Romania, but Austria was against Europe. Romania suffered a great injustice, and an injustice can never be definitive. We will correct it, and I know that’s why we were and must remain united! Romania was and remains a fair and loyal European partner, a member of the European Union that meets all the criteria for joining the Schengen area. Only one state opposed it – Austria, which gave a strong blow to European solidarity and unity and created a European problem, which must be solved at the European level,” said Ciuca, at the meeting of the Coordinating Committee of PNL District 3.

He emphasized that all democratic parties in Romania and all European political families supported our country’s accession to Schengen until the last moment.

“Our very clear and pertinent arguments were rejected in a totally unjustified way, due to internal political reasons. Romania deserves to enter the Schengen area and Romania will enter the Schengen area, but yesterday Romania was denied a fair treatment, a fair treatment, in accordance with European values. The Romanians have fulfilled all the assumed obligations, they have behaved exemplary and now they feel wronged, and rightfully so. A wronged people needs solutions!”, the prime minister said.

According to him, the mission of the authorities is to continue the efforts to achieve the national goal of accession to the Schengen area.

“PNL has the duty to lead the internal and external public debate in such a way as to maintain the confidence of Romanians that we are a respected part of the European family, which has been in solidarity with Romania,” added Ciuca.

Present at the event, the minister of the Interior, Lucian Bode, said that those who try to put the failure of Romania’s accession to Schengen behind the Government should “take a better look in the mirror before lifting the stone”.


MAE: Romania’s Ambassador to Austria called to the country for consultations


Romania’s ambassador to Austria, Emil Hurezeanu, was called to the country for consultations, this decision being, according to diplomatic customs, “a political gesture that underlines Romania’s position of firm disagreement with Austria’s conduct and indicates the decision to reduce the current level of relations with this state,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) announced, on Friday.

According to the cited source, the leadership of the embassy will be provided at the level of charge d’affaires ad interim.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs that, considering position to vote negatively on the Decision regarding Romania’s accession to the Schengen area within the Justice and Home Affairs Council of December 8, 2022, by order of Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Romania to Austria Emil Hurezeanu was called to the country for consultations. The leadership of the Romanian Embassy in Vienna will be provided at the level of charge d’affaires ad interim,” the statement said.

The JHA Council denied, on Thursday, Romania’s and Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen free movement area, with two votes against, where unanimity was needed. Among the 27 EU member states, Austria and the Netherlands voted against, the latter noting that it only opposes Bulgaria’s accession, according to corroborating sources in Brussels, who affirm, however, that discussions continue on the subject.


Photo credit: European Union


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