During a stormy press conference in Bratislava, the leader of the largest opposition party, SMER-SD, has called for the renewal of border controls at the borders with Hungary. Robert Fico has also accused the caretaker Prime Minister of abandoning his duty to protect the country’s citizens.
Photo: Facebook Robert Fico
During the press conference the opposition leader, who has a real chance of winning the elections in two weeks time, pointed at the escalation of illegal migration in Slovakia in the past few months, when the trickle of the past few years has turned into a flood of illegal arrivals. Most of the Syrian and Afghani migrants arrive in Slovakia before crossing through Hungary, despite the enormous efforts that the Hungarian authorities are making on their own southern borders in order to prevent them from entering.
Robert Fico had called on Prime Minister Ludovít Ódor to reintroduce border checks in order to prevent people smugglers from entering Slovak territory unchallenged. However, he accused the interim prime minister of campaigning for the radical leftist party Progressive Slovakia during a meeting with young people, instead of dedicating his attention to the unfolding crisis.
The press conference had briefly descended into a farce when former Prime Minister Igor Matovic had arrived in a car and using a loudspeaker interrupted Robert Fico’s address. He was challenged and physically restrained by former Interior Minister Robert Kalinák. Police officers have eventually intervened and asked Mr. Matovic to move on.
Some media outlets have interpreted Fico’s words as calling for the closure of borders with Hungary, but he had corrected himself several times during the press conference saying that he is in fact calling for police officer to check cars at the borders.
As Hungary Today have reported earlier, Slovakia is grappling with some of the largest numbers of illegal migrants since Hungary had erected its border fence in 2015 during the height of the migrant invasion. Thanks to the nearly two billion euros and enormous manpower at Hungary’s southern borders with Serbia and Romania, Slovakia was so far spared of the large crowds seen in some other countries, such as Italy or Serbia. Yet since the beginning of the summer, people smugglers have found a way to transport their human cargo to Slovakia in much larger numbers. Most migrants, however, will only stay for a shorter period in the country, their final destination is mostly Germany and Sweden.