Bus back? – Romania blocks Austria’s access to NATO


Romania is apparently blocking Austria’s participation in NATO meetings. Two army officers in Brussels have been waiting for weeks for their accreditation with the alliance. Access is postponed by Romania, which has asked for time to think about it.

It is certain that this is a retaliation for the Schengen veto of the Austrian federal government, according to the “Salzburger Nachrichten” and the “Oberösterreichische Nachrichten” (Saturday editions).

The Romanian delegation to NATO did not want to comment on the issue to the “Salzburger Nachrichten”. In a statement, a NATO spokesperson emphasized Austria’s appreciation as a long-term partner, saying: “We count on Romania and Austria to resolve all bilateral issues that could affect Austrian officers at NATO posts in their work.”

In the current case, the Ministry of Defense “has established contact with the relevant NATO offices through the military representation in Brussels,” Michael Bauer, spokesman for the federal army, told the newspaper. We also maintain close contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Chancellery.

Austria anchored itself in NATO with a mandate
Although Austria is not a NATO member, it is anchored in the alliance through the “Partnership for Peace” and NATO-led operations mandated by the UN Security Council. Austria’s participation in NATO meetings was blocked by Turkey for years starting in 2016. The background at the time was the Austrian veto on Ankara’s accession negotiations to the EU. In 2018, then Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl (FPÖ) succeeded in persuading Ankara to end the civilian part of the blockade. Only in 2022 did the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vienna confirm that cooperation between Austria and NATO within the framework of the Partnership for Peace would be fully possible again.

Schengen accession: Bucharest demands Vienna’s approval
Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu recently increased the pressure on Austria, demanding that Austria agree to his country’s accession to Schengen in December. If Austria votes against Romania’s accession to Schengen at one of the next two meetings of EU interior and justice ministers, it will challenge the decision before the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ), he said, according to the Romanian news agency Agerpres. .

Source: Krone


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