Romania: Austria's objections on Schengen bid are factually incorrect
The Romanian Government has rejected the objections raised by Austria related to the country's Schengen bid, objections broadly concerning alleged illegal migrant flows crossing Romania's borders and reaching Austria.
Austria's chancellor Karl Nehammer had reiterated on the same day his country's opposition to Romania's Schengen membership, as reported by G4media.ro.
The topic is likely to be decided at the December 8 EU Justice and Home Affairs Council.
While accepting Croatia as a valid Schengen candidate (as opposed to Romania and Bulgaria), Nehammer argued that Europe has first to settle the problem of illegal migration before enlarging the Schengen area.
He pointed to the 75,000 illegal migrants that reached Austria without being spotted by the countries they crossed on their way.
"The migratory flow does not pass through Romania. Without a doubt, Romania meets all the technical conditions for accession to the Schengen area. The reports resulting from Romania's two evaluation missions were positive and were discussed in working groups, including the participation of Austrian representatives", the Romanian minister of Interior Affairs, Lucian Bode, emphasized in a Facebook post.
Indeed, in the first ten months of 2022, Frontex detected 281,000 illegal entries into the EU, almost half of which took place via the Western Balkans route. None of them came through Romania, Frontex reported, according to Radio Free Europe.
Frontex, the European Border Police and Coast Guard Agency, was established in 2004 to support EU member states and Schengen-associated countries in protecting the external borders of the EU's free movement area.