December 8, 2022 will be marked as one of the darkest moments in the history of the European Union. Even if all member states of the Schengen free movement area wanted the accession of Romania and Bulgaria, Austria used its veto to block it.
Worse, although both states have met all the conditions for entry into Schengen and received the green light from a technical point of view from all European institutions with powers in the field, Austria’s veto still blocked their admission.
The reasons made public by the Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer are laughable, justifying the decision based on internal data on migration, contradicted by all the official statistics of FRONTEX.
Austria’s gesture is one that sends the European project into shambles and makes an incredible gift to Vladimir Putin, Russia and all extremist or anti-European parties in the EU. After this, an increase in reluctance towards the EU is expected in all member states, not only in Romania and Bulgaria.
In addition, through this approach, it seems that Europe has shown it is unable to overcome systemic xenophobia in certain states and the European Union remains an institution where there are second-hand members.
After the vote, the European Commissioner for Internal Affairs, Ylva Johansson, had a correct but useless reaction: I say to the citizens of Romania and Bulgaria: you deserve to be full members, you have the support of almost all the member states, of the European Commission. I’m disappointed and I think I share this disappointment.
Croatia to enter the Schengen Area from January 1, 2023
On the other hand, Croatia, the third EU member country that was not part of Schengen, received a green vote for accession from January 1st with land borders and from March 1st with airline borders.
In the JHA Council, Austria maintained its opposition and voted against Romania’s accession, as did the Netherlands, which argued that it was in favor of Romania’s admission to Schengen but opposed Bulgaria’s entry. The vote for the two states was tied.