Czech Republic To Reintroduce Checks At Slovak Border From Thursday
The preventive measure will be in force for an initial period of ten days and serves to discourage illegal immigration. Photo Credit: vlada.cz
Prague, Sept 27 (CTK) – The Czech government will temporarily reintroduce checks at the border with Slovakia from Thursday, due to concerns about increasing numbers of refugees, Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) told reporters after the government meeting today.
The measure will be in force for an initial ten days, said Interior Minister Vit Rakusan (STAN), adding that he would like to use this time for negotiations with Slovakia before the cabinet assesses the situation.
Police detained almost 9,500 irregular migrants in the Czech Republic from early June until the beginning of this week, mostly in the South Moravia and Zlin regions bordering on Slovakia, compared to 1,330 over the whole of last year, police headquarters spokeswoman Irena Pilarova told CTK on Thursday.
The police have already detained some 11,000 irregular migrants in the Czech territory since the beginning of this year, Rakusan said today.
The security situation in the Czech Republic is stable, Fiala said.
Those detained are mostly Syrian refugees who are using the Czech Republic as a transit country to continue to other EU states.
“However, we have to take preventive measures to be able to tackle this situation in the long run and discourage illegal migrants from using this route,” Fiala added.
The interior and justice ministries are working on an amendment to tighten the punishment for people smuggling, Rakusan said.
The Interior Ministry and the police had used all possible standard measures in the past weeks, he said, adding: “We offered all accommodation capacity of the Administration of Refugee Facilities and established two registration centres.”
Police officers were verifying the identity of irregular migrants, taking their biometric data, and issuing orders to leave the Czech Republic.
“It will be possible to cross the internal border at designated places only, but without any time limits,” said Rakusan.
He noted that he had talked with his Slovak counterpart several times, demanding that Slovakia meet international agreements, including the readmission agreement with the Czech Republic.
Rakusan said he had informed the interior ministers of Slovakia, Germany, Austria and Poland during the government meeting about the reintroduction of border checks, and had also talked with European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson and the governors of the afflicted regions about the issue.
Rakusan justified the step by saying that the Czech Republic as an EU member must fulfil the Schengen border code.
A vast majority of the migrants in the Czech Republic are Syrian refugees, but they are travelling from Turkey, he said, adding that this situation was a problem for the entire Europe.