Bulgaria and Romania slowed down
President Van der Bellen regrets Austria’s Schengen veto
Austria’s President Alexander Van der Bellen and the Greens in government have criticized the conservative Chancellor’s Party for vetoing Bulgaria’s and Romania’s Schengen membership.
ARCHIVE – Austria’s President Alexander Van der Bellen regrets the Austrian government’s veto against Bulgaria’s and Romania’s Schengen membership. Photo: Georg Hochmuth/APA/dpa
“I very much regret the Austrian government’s decision to block Romania’s and Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen area,” wrote former Green Party leader Van der Bellen on Twitter on Friday.
Although Austria is in a difficult situation because of the many arriving refugees and migrants, the veto would not change anything, said Van der Bellen during a visit to Ljubljana in Slovenia. “All I can see is that we’ve drawn a lot of resentment at the European level,” he said.
The day before, Austria’s Interior Minister Gerhard Karner from the conservative ÖVP had prevented the extension of the Schengen area without border controls to include these two countries at a meeting of the responsible ministers from EU countries. He argued that there was no point in enlarging the zone as long as the EU’s external borders were not sufficiently protected and many people were therefore coming to Europe via the Balkan route.
Justice Minister Alma Zadić reiterated that her Green government faction rejects the veto. “Bulgaria and Romania are part of the European family, and freedom of movement is very important within the European family,” she said.
On the other hand, the way for Croatia’s accession to the Schengen area was cleared on Thursday at the ministerial meeting in Brussels.