Nehammer blamed the European Commission for the Schengen Veto of Bulgaria and RomaniaEU | December 12, 2022, Monday // 09:39| views
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said the European Commission's failure to address the problem of migration pressure was among the reasons why Vienna vetoed Bulgaria and Romania's entry into Schengen last week.
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.
“For Schengen to function, strong external borders are needed, allowing for the gradual removal of internal ones. This has not worked for a long time, Germany started to control the borders with Austria, we started to control the borders with Hungary and Slovenia, Germany controls the borders with the Czech Republic, the Czech Republic with Slovakia, which means that we have a problem here and until we solve it, we cannot we are talking about expansion”, the chancellor said in an interview with Austrian television on Sunday, quoted by BTA.
Nehammer defended the veto imposed by his government, saying that there was not enough pressure in other EU countries against unregistered border crossings by migrants and that the European Commission was not active enough in solving the problems that led to the resumption of border controls along part of the inner Schengen borders in Central Europe.
According to Austria, 75,000 of the 100,000 migrants who arrived in Austria since the beginning of the year entered through Bulgaria and Romania, which the two border countries deny.
Bulgarian Interior Minister Ivan Demerdzhiev said last week that this was unprovable and that migration flows were mixing in Serbia, making it impossible to establish who entered from where.
However, Nehammer said that interrogations of the unregistered persons and the data from their mobile phones revealed that they had entered through Bulgaria and Romania and that the authorities in Sofia and Bucharest had no way of knowing the real numbers since they did not register them.
"There is a problem between Bulgaria and Turkey, the Bulgarians themselves admit that this is a big issue. On the border between Bulgaria and Turkey, policemen are killed, these are very serious situations, just as there are dramatic scenes on the border between Hungary and Serbia," the chancellor said, quoted from BTA.
Nehammer adds that for better security, Austria has launched a joint police operation with Hungary, for which preparations have been ongoing for months, thus helping Hungary.
"This is exactly how we want to help Bulgaria and Romania as well. It is very important for me to say that this is not a one-way street, that there is no simple ‘no’, the Bulgarians have already asked for help, we will support them and this is exactly what we will do and with Romania," he explained.
When asked why Austria did not choose the path practiced in the EU, namely to look for like-minded people among other countries and thus achieve changes, Nehammer replied that no other country experiences such a migrant pressure in proportion to the population that Austria experiences.
“The Netherlands tried for a long time to find support in the European Council but failed. In the other EU countries, there is a different awareness of the problems than in Austria. Since the (European) Commission does not act, it is necessary to act ‘strongly’ and nationally”, states the chancellor.
According to him, it is possible to lift the veto only when the border control in Bulgaria and Romania is improved.
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