Checks at Czech-Slovak Border Likely To Continue After 28 October
The migrants, mainly refugees from Syria, are using the Czech Republic as a transit state to continue westwards. Photo credit: Freepik, illustrative photo.
Prague, Oct 16 (CTK) – The checks at the borders between Slovakia and the Czech Republic, introduced by Czech authorities in late September due to increasing numbers of refugees, will probably continue after the 28 October deadline, Interior Minister Vit Rakusan said in a discussion on Czech Television (CT) yesterday.
The cabinet can opt for a further extension of checks by another month, until 28 November.
Rakusan said he cannot rule out possible extension of the checks beyond 28 November. However, that would require consent at the EU level, which is why the Interior Ministry is preparing documents for negotiations with the European Commission, he said.
Rakusan (STAN) said the border checks have had an impact, but a sharp decline in refugee numbers would amount to “a miracle”.
No introduction of checks is planned at the Czech-German border, he said.
The new arrivals, mainly refugees from Syria, are using the Czech Republic as a transit state to continue westwards. Their primary route leads via Serbia and Hungary, and Rakusan therefore plans to go to the Balkans to negotiate Serbia’s visa harmonisation with the EU. If Serbia does not change its approach, Rakusan threatened to introduce visa duty for Serbs as a last resort.
The Czech Republic introduced checks along its border with Slovakia on 29 September. Originally planned for a few days only, the cabinet has since extended them once, until 28 October.
The border with Slovakia has been monitored by hundreds of police, assisted by soldiers and customs officers. They are operating at 27 former border crossings, and crossing the border elsewhere is prohibited.
In reaction to the development of the Balkan migration route, the German government has already extended permanent patrols of the borders with Austria, and launched tighter random checks on the border with the Czech Republic. The German state of Bavaria intensified random checks on the borders with the Czech Republic and Austria last week.
According to the Frontex agency, the number of irregular migrants entering the EU along the Balkan route since January has shown an increase of 170% year-on-year.
A total of 228,000 migrants without entry permits have been detained at the EU external border in the first nine months of this year, the highest figure for January-September since 2016. The number of people entering the EU without legal papers in this period rose by 70% year-on-year, with the Balkan route showing the highest increase.