The Czech Republic and Austria both announced that they will introduce checks at border crossing points with Slovakia.Continue reading
While Slovak officers are busy patrolling the Hungarian border with Serbia, the Slovak border is being watched over by Czech officers. The Czech Republic decided to prolong the divisive border control on the Slovak border due to the increased volume of illegal immigration.
On Thursday, the Czech government extended the Slovak border control for 45 days instead of 15 days, Interior Minister Vít Rakusan said in a statement after a government press conference.
Prague temporarily introduced border controls between the Czech Republic and Slovakia for ten days on September 29. The controls were renewed at 17 road, seven rail, and three river crossings with the aim of limiting the entry of illegal migrants into the country. The Czechs later extended the controls for 20 days, until October 28. In the meantime, Austria has also started to control the Slovak border.
“The government has decided that the Slovak border controls will continue until November 12. The evolution of the migration situation will decide whether further measures will be necessary,” Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala told journalists. However, a statement by Interior Minister Vít Rakusan later revealed that border controls had been first extended until December 12. The statement did not qualify the prime minister’s misstatement.
“We were reluctant to take these measures, but the situation requires them. They will be in place for as long as necessary,”
Petr Fiala told reporters. At the same time, he added that the Czech Republic is not a destination for illegal migrants, who prefer to reach Western Europe.
Interior Minister Vít Rakusan said earlier that under current rules the Czech government could maintain border controls for two months. For longer border controls, the Czechs would need the approval of the European Union, he said. “We are already working on the necessary background material for negotiations with the European Commission,” the interior minister said.
The Czech interior minister said that
the control of the Czech-Slovak border had already produced results, but that a large-scale reduction in illegal migration “would be a miracle.”
The majority of illegal migrants arriving in the Czech Republic from Slovakia are Syrian nationals who want to reach Western Europe. The minister refuted press reports that the Germans were planning to control the Czech border.
Migratory pressure is also significant at the Hungarian border, where a fence has been in place since 2015.
By mid-October this year, 225,000 people had been caught crossing the border illegally, compared with 122,000 for the whole of last year,
the prime minister’s chief advisor on internal security, György Bakondi, told Kossuth Radio on Wednesday. He said that illegal border crossers are more prevalent in the Serbian-Hungarian border area because the Hungarian border is guarded very strictly.
The number of people arriving from Iran, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Nepal has increased significantly in recent years. Later, the chief advisor also said on a program of the public television channel M1 that Austrian, Czech, Slovak, and Turkish police officers are helping their Hungarian colleagues at the Hungarian-Serbian border.
Featured photo via MTI/Rosta Tibor