Romania hints Dissatisfaction from the current Schengen Package Deal with Bulgaria
Romanian Interior Minister Lucian Bode has sent an open letter to his Austrian counterpart Gerhard Karner expressing his "deep outrage" at the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council's vote against Romania joining the Schengen area. This is reported by the Romanian agency "Agerpres", quoted by BTA.
"I am writing to you to express my deep indignation at your vote, after you assured me on November 23 in Vienna, in the presence of our colleagues, that you are a friend of Romania and your position is not against Romania, but against a dysfunctional system, which should not be extended to any country", Lucian Bode notes in the letter published on his Facebook page.
He described the decision as "unfair, wrongful, without any real justification" and shared fears that it would cause huge damage at EU level and a dangerous precedent in the current geopolitical context. Lucian Bode adds that with this vote, not only the merits of Romania and its citizens, but also the values and principles of the European level have been trampled.
"All the member countries saw how Austria made an arbitrary decision, and the arguments presented at the end of this process have no relation to reality," adds Bode. He recalls that at a meeting with his Austrian colleague Karner in February, he received an assurance of support from Austria.
"You treated the Romanians and Romania in an unfair, discriminatory and illogical way. I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but this way of behaving and acting is not suitable for any politician from the European Union," emphasizes Bode.
He specifies that Romania remains firmly and deeply committed to the goal of joining the Schengen area, and not only the ministry he leads, but also other structures involved in the accession process, will continue to work with the same determination and unwavering trust in European values.
Bulgaria's bid was blocked on Thursday by the Netherlands because of the Hague's lack of confidence in the application of the rule of law, and by Austria, which also suspended Romania because of the large number of unregistered migrants at the two external borders who have ended up in Austria.
Separated from Bulgaria
According to the chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Marcel Ciolacu, Romania has more chances for Schengen if it is separated from Bulgaria. "Even if Austria had voted yes, Romania would not have been accepted into the Schengen area, as it applied in a package with Bulgaria," commented Ciolacu during a meeting of the National Political Council. According to him, this Romania-Bulgaria package was created 10-11 years ago.
“Perhaps it should have been insisted to the Commission that a partition between Romania and Bulgaria be included in the agenda of the European Council, so that we have better chances”, commented Ciolacu.
"The question remains, why do we continue to move in a package with Bulgaria, after there is another decision by another European country, namely the Netherlands, that it will not vote for Bulgaria? Regardless of whether Austria had supported us or not, if we remain on the same agenda package, Romania and Bulgaria, the Council of Justice and Home Affairs would not accept our membership," added Ciolacu in the Romanian Parliament.
The Honorary Consul of Romania in Austria (Graz), Count Andre Bardeau commented that "Romania is the lamb sacrificed because of the inaction of neighboring countries".
According to him, Austria's rejection of Romania for Schengen was unexpected.
"In recent months, there has been goodwill and approval for Schengen membership by the Austrian government. It has been repeatedly emphasized that Romania has fulfilled all the requirements. On November 16, there was talk of a declaration of support for the country by the Austrian government. But on November 18, a radical change occurred. For me, this sudden change of position is incomprehensible. It is disloyal and unfair to a partner. It is sad for European solidarity that we have reached this situation," Andre Bardeau points out.
The consul is of the opinion that the country guards the external borders of the European Union in an exemplary manner and that a large part of the refugees come through Serbia and Hungary, not through Romania. "In recent years, we have accommodated hundreds of immigrants and only a small number have arrived in our country," says Bardeau.
The consul fears that what happened will lead to financial losses for both Romania and Austria.
"Just a few days ago, a large Austrian construction company signed a 300 million lei project for Bucharest Airport. And last but not least, transport companies, both Romanian and Austrian, will continue to wait at the border. Beware of the economic damage caused by the long waiting time," the consul.
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