- Hans Weber
- December 1, 2023
Czech Cabinet Extends Border Checks with Slovakia to Stem Irregular Refugee Flows
The Czech cabinet has announced the extension of random border checks with Slovakia for an additional 20 days, with the measure now set to continue until November 2nd. These checks, initially implemented in response to the surge in irregular refugee flows, were originally scheduled to conclude on October 13th, but have been prolonged to further control the movement of undocumented migrants.
The Czech Republic, alongside Poland and Austria, introduced these checks at their respective borders with Slovakia last week. The primary objective of these measures is to curb the entry of undocumented refugees into their territories, a majority of whom intend to continue their journey towards Western Europe. In response, the outgoing Slovak government also enacted border checks at its boundary with Hungary, extending them until November 3rd.
This reinstatement of border checks at the Czech-Slovak border comes a year after their initial implementation. Last year, these checks were introduced at the end of September due to a notable increase in undocumented refugee crossings, and they remained in effect until early February.
Vit Rakusan, the Czech Republic’s Interior Minister, explained that the decision to extend the border protection for another 20 days was a response to the actions of neighboring countries. He emphasized that the intention behind the extension is to discourage migration flows and prevent them from gaining momentum. Rakusan also stressed that the checks are intended to minimize inconvenience for citizens.
The cost of these border checks, spanning from last week until November 2nd, is estimated to amount to CZK 53.4 million. In the short span from last Wednesday to Monday, the police conducted checks on 43,749 individuals and identified 283 undocumented migrants. Out of these, 234 people were denied entry into the Czech Republic, and 27 instances involved the use of readmission measures toward Slovakia. Additionally, police detained 12 individuals involved in human smuggling, charging them with criminal offenses.
The police force had initially deployed approximately 130 officers, mainly from border regions, for conducting these checks. They received support from immigration police and officers from other regions. While they focused on vehicles chosen based on their experience in detecting people smugglers, spot checks were conducted on anyone, prompting the Interior Ministry to recommend that individuals near the border carry proper identification, such as an ID card or passport.
Rakusan reiterated that the Czech Republic’s decision to introduce these checks was taken as a precautionary measure and was influenced by neighboring countries’ actions, as the overall situation regarding migration was under control. The objective is to maintain border security while causing minimal disruption to citizens.
Article by Prague Forum