The Minister's comments became a response to the Chancellor Germany Olaf Scholz, who recently expressed German support to the Romanian authorities, stressing that Germany wants Romania to join the Schengen already this year.
“Austria's position has not changed at all. Freedom of movement in the European Union will only be possible if the external borders are well protected,” — Karner confirmed his position to journalists.
The Minister believes that there is a contradiction in the actions of the German Chancellor: he wants to cancel control on the border between Romania and Hungary, while Germany continues to control the border with Austria.
Last week, the German Chancellor held working meetings with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Prime Minister Nicolae Chuca, and Moldovan President Maia Sandu during his visit to Romania, during which he expressed Germany's support for completing this process.
In addition to Germany, Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlasca also reaffirmed his support for Romania and Bulgaria's entry into the Schengen area. His comments came after meetings held with his counterparts from Romania and Bulgaria ahead of the Spanish Presidency of the European Union in the second half of this year.
Earlier, Romanian President Calus Iohannis also said that, in his opinion, both countries will be allowed to enter the Schengen area. He noted that both Balkan countries are doing everything in their power to protect their borders and expect a positive vote on their entry into the zone without borders this year.
Unlike the Minister of the Interior and Chancellor Karl Nehammer, the President Austria Alexander Van der Bellen expressed his support for the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen. His comments were made during a meeting with the head of the European Commission's Delegation to Austria, Martin Selmayr.
On 8 December last year, Austria blocked the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen area. According to the Austrian authorities, it was not the right time for both countries to become part of the Schengen area due to problems with illegal migrants.