Home Business Romania threatens Austria with prosecution over blocked Schengen membership – POLITICO

Romania threatens Austria with prosecution over blocked Schengen membership – POLITICO

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Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu wants to take Austria to the EU’s highest court if it continues to block his country’s entry into the EU free movement zone.

“If Chancellor (Karl) Nehammer unjustifiably uses his veto again, as Prime Minister I will have to challenge Austria’s decision before the European Court of Justice in order to claim compensation for the losses caused by non-adherence,” Ciolacu said in a statement. interview with The standard.

The damage amounts to “at least 2 percent” of Romania’s GDP, according to Ciolacu.

Croatia joined Schengen area this year, but the accession of Romania and Bulgaria was blocked following Austrian opposition due to concerns about migration along the Western Balkan route. The Netherlands also opposed the admission of Bulgaria.

Two weeks ago, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said POLITICO that his country remains opposed to countries entering the Schengen area due to persistent migration problems.

“This is not directed against them, but we have the problem that around 20 percent of those who arrive in Austria actually cross Romanian territory,” he said.

Ciolacu denied the existence of increased migration through Romania. The country has implemented joint border controls with Serbia “so we can take this issue off the table”, he said.

At the same time, Austria’s veto “created a precedent,” Ciolacu said, “because member states normally follow the recommendations of European institutions.”

In her State of the Union address on Wednesday, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gave him support behind the countries’ applications, praising Romania and Bulgaria for “leading the way” with their approach to asylum and return.

“They have proven it: Bulgaria and Romania are part of our Schengen area. So let’s finally bring them in, without further delay,” she said. said.

European lawmakers also called on the EU Council to admit these countries. Their July resolution asked the Commission to consider compensation for countries’ losses due to the “unjustified refusal to join the Schengen area”.

The National Union of Road Transport Workers of Romania (UNTRR) has warned that the country’s blocking of accession to the Schengen area has led to “unacceptable” queues at the border. This dealt a “heavy blow” to its economy, the group said.

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