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Newsline: Romania summons Austrian ambassador

Romania’s government has reacted with outrage after Austria blocked its bid to join the visa-free Schengen zone. Austria’s ambassador was summoned to explain a veto that Romanian officials called unjustified and an act of blackmail. Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner justified his vote on the grounds of a migration crisis in south-eastern Europe. Landlocked Austria has demanded EU action over tens of thousands of undocumented migrants arriving from the Balkans. But Romania said it had nothing to do with this and accused Austria of playing political games. “This result is completely unfair and devoid of any objective motivation,” Romania’s Foreign Ministry said. Romania’s Deputy Prime Minister Hunor Kelemen accused Austria of “miserable blackmail”. “Austria’s veto is unfair, immoral, lacking solid arguments, showing a miserable political game,” he said. (https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/europe/2022/12/09/romania-summons-austrian-ambassador-over-schengen-snub/) Austria’s ceremonial head of state Alexander van der Bellen also criticised his government’s veto on Friday. But the government said it was the wrong time to extend Schengen when border protection was not working well enough. The Austrian veto stopped Romania and Bulgaria from joining Schengen in an EU vote on Thursday. The Netherlands also voted against, but said its objection was to Bulgaria and not Romania.

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