This is Karl Nehammer, MSc. Short story, he became Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) leader, elected by his party colleagues on December 3rd, 2021. Following the last 2019 elections, the ÖVP, lead at that time by someone else (Sebastian Kurz), formed a governing coalition with The Greens. But Kutz resigned from all offices (Austrian Chancellor and ÖVP leader) on December 2nd, 2021, following a corruption scandal.

That’s how Nehammer became Chancellor of Austria, exactly one year ago. Today, he has a problem: The polls for the next major elections (Lower Austria, the second most populous region of the country, after Vienna), to be held at the end of January, show that ÖVP’s popularity decreased over the past six months from almost 50% to 38%. How to get back the votes? Simple. Take action on a subject of popular concern: immigration. And what better opportunity for such action than to veto today in EU’s JAI council (Justice & Internal Affairs) the acceptance of Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area (borderless EU circulation)? Nehammer’s reason? No reason, just because he can.

Actually, he came yesterday with a reason: Austria got 75,000 unregistered immigrants this year. Yes, but only around 2% of those came through Bulgaria and Romania, the rest came mostly through Serbia and Croatia. Some 24h later, another reason: Austria cannot accept the extension of the Schengen system that does not work, citing the 75,000 immigrants. Well, but he doesn’t veto Croatia’s accession to the same Schengen system … So, what’s the logic? Maybe the Dalmatian Coast resorts (part of Croatia) that are the closest and most popular seaside destination of Austrians, who now have to wait at the border, because Croatia is not in Schengen?

Conclusion? On a defying and verbally aggressive tone, Karl Nehammer irresponsibly broke the unity of the European Union, insulting two partner countries, through words, tone, and action, for the sake of some local electoral party gains. To be clear: Romania got the support of ALL other EU countries for joining the Schengen area. By the way, guess who’s jubilating today in a golden roof pointy building facing the Red Square?


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