In her State of the Union address on Wednesday, von der Leyen called out Austria for blocking the Schengen accession of Bulgaria and Romania, urging the country to “finally let them in – without further delay”.
Austria, however, was quick to dismiss the request.
“Currently, the migration figures are rising across Europe, and in many countries, additional border controls are being discussed, for example, in Germany with Poland,” Austria’s Interior Minister, Gerhard Karner, said in a statement.
“At this point in time, it makes no sense for me to talk about an extension of the Schengen area. We need more controls, not less,” he added.
Austria has been blocking accession for both countries, fearing an influx of irregular migrants.
According to the Austrian government, the two countries could not effectively control their borders, which would become the EU’s external borders after their Schengen accession.
Von der Leyen, on the other hand, stressed that the two eastern European states have already become a model “showcasing best practices on both asylum and returns.”
“They have proved it: Bulgaria and Romania are part of our Schengen area,” von der Leyen added during her State of the Union speech.
Back home, the government’s continued insistence on the blockade has also been criticised by the liberal NEOS party, now in opposition.
“This is a direct call to the Austrian federal government to finally lift its unspeakable and anti-European veto,” NEOS MEP Claudia Gamon told APA after von der Leyen’s speech.
Sursa zilei • 14-09-2023, 12:01:52 • 87 vizualizari