Romania decided to postpone the access of Austrian officers to NATO meetings. The decision was taken unilaterally and without any explanation from the Romanian part.
Austria is not a NATO member, but it has officers accredited and actively participates in humanitarian aid. As the Austrian press mentions, two Austrian army officers have been waiting weeks for their accreditation with the alliance. Romania has delayed access and asked for time to consider the accreditation. In the Austrian journalists’ opinion, this is undoubtedly a retaliation for the Austrian federal government’s Schengen veto.
The reason for this to be seen as a diplomatic retaliation following Austria’s decision to block Romania’s access to Schengen is that Austria refused Romania and Bulgaria’s access to the Schengen area, even though the European Parliament recommended the member states to vote for the two Eastern European countries to be accepted.
The Romanian population protested in Romania against Austrian companies, and #boycottaustria became a popular movement after Austria’s decision. Also, a Romanian MEP asked Romania and Bulgaria to create the Little Schengen, as the name was coined.
Also, the Romanian Prime Minister, Marcel Ciolacu, mentioned that Romania could bring Austria to the European Court of Justice for refusing access to Schengen. The losses brought to Romania and Bulgaria by Austria’s decision sum up to billions of EUR, and the European Commission and the European Parliament understood that. However, the Austrian federal government has points to gain in popularity, thus making everything possible to keep the two Eastern European nations out of Schengen.