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Austria's Interior Minister Says Romania's Schengen Accession Remains Unchanged

Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner has reiterated that the country's position on Romania's admittance to the Schengen Zone has not changed, implying that Austria will continue to oppose Romania's membership in the borderless zone.

His remarks were in reaction to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who recently indicated to Romanian authorities Germany's support on the matter while emphasising Germany's desire for Romania to join Schengen this year.

“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 sees a paradox in the German Chancellor's desire to abolish border controls between Romania and Hungary while Germany continues to regulate the border with Austria.

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

During his visit to Romania on Monday, the German Chancellor met with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca, and Moldovan President Maia Sandu, during which he expressed Germany's support for the completion of this process.

“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 Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, restated Spain's support for Romania and Bulgaria's Schengen membership. His remarks came after discussions with his colleagues from Romania and Bulgaria ahead of Spain's presidency of the European Union in the second half of this year.

Earlier this month, Romanian President Kalus Iohannis stated that he expects both countries will be allowed to enter the Schengen Zone. He also stated that both Balkan nations are doing everything possible to secure their borders and anticipate receiving a yes vote on their entry into the borderless zone this year.

Unlike the country's Interior Minister and Chancellor, Karl Nehammer, Austria's President, Alexander Van der Bellen, has also indicated support for Romania and Bulgaria's Schengen membership. His remarks occurred at a meeting with Martin Selmayr, the European Commission's Head of Representation in Austria.

Austria stopped Romania and Bulgaria's entry into the Schengen zone on December 8, last year. Due to concerns about illegal migrants, Austrian authorities believe it is not the proper moment for both countries to join the Schengen Zone.



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