Romania recalls Austria envoy after Schengen veto

AFP
AFP - [email protected] • 9 Dec, 2022 Updated Fri 9 Dec 2022 15:46 CEST
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An Austrian border policeman gestures at the Austro-Hungarian border in Nickelsdorf, Austria, near Hegyeshalom, Hungary on March 2,2020. (Photo by Joe Klamar / AFP)

Romania on Friday recalled its ambassador to Austria, a day after Vienna sparked anger by vetoing Bucharest's bid to join the Schengen zone free of border checks.

The Eastern European country with a population of 19 million joined the European Union in 2007 and had high hopes of integration into the vast zone of free movement after waiting for more than 10 years.

On Friday, Romania's foreign ministry said diplomat Emil Hurezeanu "has been recalled [to Bucharest] for consultations". It was a "political gesture" indicating "a decision to decrease the current level of relations" with Austria, the ministry said.

READ ALSO: ‘A stupid prank’?: Why has Austria vetoed enlargement of Schengen area?

Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca had expressed "deep disappointment" over Austria's decision to block the country's decade-plus long bid.

Romanian foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu then summoned Austria's ambassador to protest what he called "an unjustified and unfriendly attitude" which would have "consequences on bilateral relations".

Austria thwarted the hopes of both Bucharest and Sofia, justifying the vetoes over an influx of asylum seekers that it said could grow if the Schengen zone expanded.

Bucharest said Vienna's stance was based on "incorrect" figures, since migratory flows "do not pass through Romania".

Meanwhile, calls to boycott Austrian companies have grown louder, with Romania's tourism ministry saying skiing holidays should be taken in  destinations such as France, rather than Austria.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What happens if you overstay your 90-day limit in Austria?

A demonstration is also planned in the Romanian capital.

As a leading economic trading partner, Austria represents "the second largest foreign investor" in Romania, the foreign ministry said.

A large amount of Romanian citizens and businesses have Austrian bank accounts. Austrian oil and gas group OMV as well as HS Timber also have a big presence in Romania.

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AFP 2022/12/09 15:46

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