EXCLUSIVE Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer on Wednesday referred in a closed-door EPP meeting to alleged „pressure” on Austrian firms in Romania, after MEP Rareș Bogdan invoked the strong economic ties between the two countries.
„I declare myself surprised if it will happen. Our job is to defend our companies. The themes should remain separate, economy with economy and security with security,” Chancellor Nehammer said, according to G4Media.
The discussion at the EPP meeting was extremely tense, according to G4Media, after the Austrian chancellor announced that he was opposed to Romania and Bulgaria joining Schengen on the grounds that illegal migrants would pass through the two countries into Austria.
„I understand that more and more pressure is being put on Austrian companies in Romania, which are major employers, major investors. It’s a political economy issue, not a security issue. I have informed and asked that if there are situations where Austrian companies are put under pressure, they should inform immediately. We have also informed the international missions, and our mission is to protect our companies. I declare myself surprised by such a course of action if this happens, because the EU is more than Schengen. We joined an economic union and the themes should remain as they are: economy with economy and security with security. It’s not just an Austrian problem, it’s a European problem,” Nehammer said.
It should be recalled that large Austrian companies such as OMV, Erste, Raiffeisen or Grawe have a significant presence on the respective markets in Romania.