Austrian chancelor Karl Nehammer, about Schengen membership: OK for Croatia, but no for Romania and Bulgaria

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Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer rowed back Interior Minister Gerhard Karner’s threat to veto Croatia’s entry into Schengen, adding the framework is defunct, ahead of a key visit to Zagreb on Wednesday, Euractiv reported few days ago.

In the same time, Mr. Nehammer keeps his opposition to Romania’s admission into the Schengen space of free movement, arguing that too many illegal migrants arrive in Austria from Romania.

On the other hand, the Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, visiting Riga, Latvia, yesterday, said that „these immigrants do not come from Romania, nor did they pass through Romania”.

„Austria is experiencing an increased flow of non-Ukrainian refugees, twice as much as in 2021. As a consequence, the conservative ÖVP has been cracking down and seeking alliances – including with Croatia”, Euractiv reported.

On Tuesday, chancellor Karl Nehammer was forced to soften Karner’s threat to veto Croatia’s Schengen entry. “From Croatia, we hardly feel any migration pressure to the north,” the Chancellor stressed.

“Since Croatia’s border protection is exemplary, I see no problem there. The countries are voted on individually,” he added, as Kleine Zeitung reported.

On Tuesday, the Croatian president was already running damage control. “The reason why Austria is concerned is not Croatia, but the increasing number of asylum seekers in Austria,” he calmed.

Nehammer (in the picture above) insists that a Europe without internal borders relied on strong external borders, and an expansion of Schengen would be the “wrong signal” as long as Europe’s outer borders remain unprotected, he told to an Austrian press agency.

Picture courtesy of Bundesregierung der Republik Österreich

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