Refugees from Ukraine have been crossing at land borders of neighboring countries, like Slovakia | Photo: Radovan Stoklasa/Reuters
Refugees from Ukraine have been crossing at land borders of neighboring countries, like Slovakia | Photo: Radovan Stoklasa/Reuters

The Czech government is temporarily reintroducing border checks with Slovakia in order to prevent irregular migrants from entering the country.

The Czech government has announced that it will temporarily reinstate border controls on its border with Slovakia in response to a rise in irregular migration, Czech government officials said on Monday.

The new measure becomes effective on Thursday, September 29, at 27 border crossings between the two European Union countries that belong to Europe's visa-free Schengen zone and will last for at least 10 days.

A total of 560 police and customs officers will be deployed to carry out the checks.

People will be banned from crossing the border at any other place on the 251-kilometer (155-mile) border. There are exceptions for farmers, foresters and fishermen working at the border areas. Slovakia's government said Tuesday it has accepted the Czech decision but wants to discuss the issue at the EU level.

Also read: Germany still struggling to accommodate refugees as irregular entries from Czech Republic increase by 140%

Transit migration

The number of undocumented migrants entering the country rose by 1,200% this year, Interior Minister Vit Rakušan told reporters. An increasing number of irregular migrants -- mostly from Syria -- are coming to the EU from Turkey.

"What we are going through this year is unprecedented. Since the beginning of 2022, police have detained 11,000 irregular migrants," Rakušan said.

The ministry said that the refugees have been using Czechia as a transit country on their way to the West.

"This is transit migration, the vast majority of them aimed for Germany. This raised nervousness on the German side of the border as well," he added.

The checks will initially last for 10 days, Rakušan said. Central European EU countries and the border check-free Schengen zone have given refugee status to more than 400,000.

Also read: 23 migrants left on German-Czech border by smugglers

Limited border crossings

The Czech interior ministry said the measure was necessary after authorities detained almost 12,000 irregular migrants on Czech territory this year, most of them from Syria. That is more than during the previous migration wave in Europe in 2015. A total of 125 human smugglers have been arrested this year, a significant increase compared with the previous years.

Ukrainians fleeing the war, of which around 300,000 are estimated to be staying in the country, are not included in the irregular migration data.

With AP and Reuters


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