Austria apparently wants the Black Sea gas to agree to our entry into Schengen, according to sources. “The real stake for Austria is represented, in fact, by the gases from the Black Sea. The Austrians now want the offshore law to be amended in this regard, because the current law provides that Romania has the right of pre-emption to purchase gas. And Austria wants all the quantity produced from the Black Sea, the Petrom part, to be taken through Hungary to Austria, 25% to stay in Hungary and 75% to go to Austria and Bavaria”, according to the sources.
The Romanian authorities have said countless times that they expect the final decision from OMV Petrom and Romgaz as soon as possible, given that the changes to the Offshore Law were made in consultation with the companies involved.
In the summer, the Minister of Energy, Virgil Popescu, said that there is a provision in the oil concession agreement of the Neptun Deep perimeter in the Black Sea, which stipulates that the concession operators of the perimeter, OMV Petrom and Romgaz, are obliged to officially declare, until the end this year, that the discovered deposits have commercial value and can be exploited under conditions of economic profitability.
In November, President Klaus Iohannis had a meeting at the Cotroceni Palace, with a delegation of OMV Petrom, led by the executive general director of OMV and chairman of the Supervisory Board of OMV Petrom, Alfred Stern, and the Neptun Deep project was a topic distinct from discussion.
President Klaus Iohannis asked the OMV management to start offshore exploitation as quickly as possible within the perimeter owned by Romgaz and OMV Petrom, considering that the offshore law is favorable and is in force.
The management of OMV presented to President Iohannis the status of the project and the key steps taken, assuming the commitment to adopt the final investment decision in the middle of 2023, so that the exploitation of natural gas from the Neptun Deep perimeter will start as soon as possible. In the summer, the management of OMV Petrom said that it would take the decision on the condition that some provisions of the new Offshore Law related to the conditions for the sale of production from Neptun Deep be clarified.
The Minister of the Interior of Austria, Gerhard Karner, states that at this moment “it makes sense” to include Croatia in the Schengen area, but not to admit Romania and Bulgaria.
In an interview given to the Kurier newspaper one year after taking over the mandate of Minister of the Interior, Gerhard Karner reaffirms the position he expressed earlier regarding the admission of Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen area.
“For us, the decision applies according to which we think it makes sense to include Croatia and not to include Bulgaria and Romania now. It is important – in the case of the asylum system, remember – that three basic aspects work: protection of external borders, refusals and distribution. The truth is that many things do not work in these areas. And that is why we must continue to work and fight”, said the Austrian Minister of the Interior in the interview given to Kurier, when asked about Austria’s possible veto regarding the accession of the three countries to the Schengen area, according to News.ro
Two weeks ago, Karner told the daily newspaper “Kurier” that it is an inappropriate time for the expansion of the Schegnen area, despite the recommendation made by the European Commission to welcome Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia into the European area of free movement.
Later, according to Croatian media reports, Chancellor Karl Nehammer stated, during a visit to Zagreb, that Austria will support Croatia’s candidacy for joining the Schengen area, but has objections to Romania’s and Bulgaria’s candidacy for the European free movement area.
The issue of the Schengen accession of Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia seems to have created misunderstandings between the parties of the governing coalition in Vienna, the vice-chancellor Werner Kogler, leader of the Green Party, declaring, according to the “Kurier” daily, that he does not agree with the assessment of his conservative colleagues from OeVP and that “Austria continues to officially support the accession of Romania and Bulgaria” to the free movement area.