Romanian Interior Minister Lucian Bode Accuses Austria of Lying

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: December 12, 2022; 20:28 ♦ (Vindobona)

Romanian Interior Minister Lucian Bode wrote a letter to Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner, strongly criticizing him for Austria's rejection of his country's Schengen accession.

Romania's Interior Minister Lucian Bode accuses his Austrian counterpart Gerhard Karner of lying. / Picture: © Romanian and Austrian crossed flags by Vindobona

Romanian Interior Minister Lucian Bode (Liberal Party/PNL) today sent an open letter to his Austrian counterpart Gerhard Karner (ÖVP) to express Romania's continued lack of understanding regarding Austria's veto of the country's accession to the border control-free Schengen area.

The letter is unusually sharp for an exchange between two friendly European states. The protest letter from Romanian Interior Minister Bode, in which he accuses Karner of lying, has been published on Facebook.

The content of the letter is about the Austrian rejection of the Eastern European country's accession to the Schengen area, which as reported by, came as a surprise to Romania, at the EU Council of Interior Ministers on December 8.

Still, in the context of the Salzburg Forum in mid-November, Austria had spoken out in favor of a joint declaration in which "all members expressed their approval for the Schengen enlargement to include Romania." Before that, Interior Minister Karner had personally assured him in a working meeting in January that his country was in favor of Romania's Schengen accession, the letter published via Facebook said.

Bode stressed in the letter that the other EU interior ministers had "ensured a fair and honest approach to the process of Romania's accession to the EU" and had "conducted fair analyses." Austria, on the other hand, had made "an unfair, unjust decision without any real justification, which causes enormous damage at the EU level and sets a dangerous precedent in the current geopolitical context."

Bode sharply takes issue with Karner, stating in his letter, "You have made a worthless political game out of a country that has such a rich political tradition and has been a solid democracy for so long."

Nobody in Romania could therefore understand "what happened within two days" or between November 16 and 18 to bring about the sudden change of heart on the Austrian side. Political games of this kind are "unworthy of a country with a consolidated democracy and a political tradition as rich as Austria's," Bode wrote.

According to ORF, the Romanian media meanwhile reported, citing a department of the executive branch, that Austria's rethinking of the Schengen issue had indeed caught the authorities in Bucharest stone cold.

Between June 2021 and mid-November 2022, there had been 27 bilateral and multilateral meetings at various levels, with the Austrian side at no point raising concerns about Romania's Schengen accession or expressing concern about a suspected migrant route through the country, according to ORF.

It has always been said that Austria appreciates Romania's contribution to protecting the EU's external borders and therefore supports Schengen enlargement to include the country, the government document cited by the media said.

Some political observers in Bucharest suspect that Interior Minister Lucian Bode could resign in the next few days, as DerStandard reports. There were already several calls for him to resign after the Schengen no. Bode, but also President Klaus Iohannis, are accused of not having done enough to prevent Austria's rejection.