Austrian media report that Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner is ready to loosen the veto on the enlargement of the Schengen area with Bulgaria and Romania. The announcement, published in the Sunday edition of the Kurir newspaper and the online edition on Saturday night of the Kleine Zeitung newspaper, quoted by the Austrian news agency APA, said that according to reports obtained from government circles, the borders could be removed, at least for air traffic.
However, land borders will retain their current status, with Bulgaria and Romania officially not being members of Schengen. A spokesman for the interior minister confirmed this in response to an inquiry by the APA, the online edition of the daily Salzburger Nachrichten also reported.
One of the conditions for this will be stricter border controls, the report said. On Monday, Minister Gerhard Karner will travel to Slovenia to discuss at a meeting with representatives of these countries the conditions that must be met for Austria to agree to the so-called "air Schengen". The consultations are due to take place on Tuesday as part of the Salzburg Forum in Brdo near Kranj, a small town located northwest of the Slovenian capital Ljubljana.
Kurir cites the following conditions proposed by Austria: a threefold increase in Frontex's mission in Bulgaria, with funds for border protection infrastructure to be provided by the European Commission; enhanced border controls between Bulgaria and Romania and between Hungary and Romania; sending Austrian advisers on document issues to work with the teams at Bucharest and Sofia airports; reception of asylum seekers, in particular Afghans and Syrians, from Romania and Bulgaria.
On Saturday night, the online edition of the Krone newspaper also reported on Carner's plan. The plan will not be problematic from a legal point of view, European law expert Walter Obvecser of the University of Innsbruck told the newspaper. Increasing the size of Frontex is already a fait accompli, taking over asylum seekers is compatible with EU law and "the Schengen Borders Code allows for the gradual abolition of checks on persons at internal borders. "At airports."
Austrian media: Bulgaria is a blind spot in the EU when it comes to safety
Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Colacu reacted on Facebook to the information coming from Austria.
We broke the ice! Austria softened its stance on the Schengen area and agreed to abolish air borders for Romania. This means that Romanians will no longer have to stand in long queues when flying within the EU. In recent months, we have worked hard to get to this point, and I am grateful to everyone who fought for Romania. Minister Predoiu has a mandate to meet the Austrian interior minister and bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion. After years of waiting, we will achieve this dream together! Romania deserves to be in Schengen!, Colacu wrote on the social platform.
Follow the channel on