site.btaDiverse Reactions of Romanian Politicians to News of Austria's Readiness to Soften Schengen Position

Diverse Reactions of Romanian Politicians to News of Austria's Readiness to Soften Schengen Position
Diverse Reactions of Romanian Politicians to News of Austria's Readiness to Soften Schengen Position

Approached for comment by Digi24 on Sunday, Austrian Minister of the Interior Gerhard Karner outlined three conditions for the lift of air border control for Romania. The first condition is further strengthening of the protection of the EU's external borders, tripling of the presence of Frontex officers at the Bulgarian-Turkish border, and significant increase of the financial support for border control along Bulgaria's and Romania's external borders. 

The second condition is tighter border control along the land borders between Bulgaria and Romania as well as between Romania and Hungary. The third condition is assuming responsibility for the illegal migrants who have arrived in Austria. If these conditions are met, Austria might agree to accept Romania in Schengen's air space, reads Vienna's reply to Digi24's inquiry.

Earlier on Sunday, Austrian media reported that he Austrian Minister of the Interior Gerhard Karner is ready to loosen the veto on the enlargement of the Schengen area to Bulgaria and Romania. The announcement, published in Sunday's edition of the Kurier, in Saturday night's electronic edition of the Kleine Zeitung, and cited by the Austria Press Agency (APA), said that according to reports received from government circles, the borders could be abolished, at least for air traffic. Land borders will retain their current status, with Bulgaria and Romania not being members of Schengen.

Diverse reactions from Austrian politicians followed.

The Romanian Prime Minister wrote on his Facebook profile that the ice with Austria has been broken and that the Interior Minister is authorized to meet with  Karner and finish the negotiations. "After years of waiting, we will achieve this dream together! Romania deserves to be in Schengen!" the post reads. 

Liberals' leader Nicolae Ciuka said that a decision on Romania's entry in Schengen is expected at the end of 2023, when an extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council will be held. He welcomed the Austrian Minister of Interior's  promising public statements proving flexibility in the Austrian partners' position; his conditions will be discussed and analysed in the next period, Ciuka wrote on Facebook. Still, he wishes to see the result of the vote in the Netherlands as well as the discussions at the level of ministers of interior in Slovenia on December 11. In his words, there are positive dynamics but still within the limits of caution and negotiations.

Romanian MEP Ioan-Rares Bogdan said that Bucharest should wait before opening the bottles of champagne, because there is yet a very important vote in favour that Bulgaria has to receive in the parliament in The Hague and which has been postponed to mid-December. Romania got this vote by the Dutch legislative body but Bulgaria is yet to receive it, he specified. The negotiations continue so that Vienna can give a positive position on land borders as well, the MEP told Digi24.

MEP Eugen Tomac wrote on Facebook that Austria is not doing Romania a favour and that the decision on the country's accession to Schengen is a European problem that no longer concerns the bilateral relations only. 

MEP Victor Negrescu wrote on Facebook that Romania has every chance to join Schengen by air. Austria's requirements are not a problem, though in Romania's case these were unnecessary. "Obviously, we hope that we will quickly show that our Bulgarian partners, with whom we continue to be committed in this endevour, are too ready for entry by land," his post reads. Once the Dutch parliament votes on lifting the veto for Bulgaria, negotiations will be held and the text of the decision will be finalized, he specified.

/DS/

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By 22:23 on 01.03.2024 Today`s news

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