Czech Republic to Implement Border Checks with Slovakia Amid Rising Refugee Numbers

In response to a surge in the number of refugees, the Czech Republic is set to reintroduce border checks at its frontier with Slovakia, with the new measures taking effect as of Wednesday. Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced the decision via Twitter, highlighting the government’s swift response to the situation.

Interior Minister Vit Rakusan stated that these border checks will be conducted randomly and will cover the entire length of the border shared with Slovakia. The move comes as part of coordinated efforts between the Czech Republic and Poland, which is also implementing similar measures to manage the influx of refugees. As of now, the checks are planned to remain in place until October 13, with the possibility of extensions depending on the evolving circumstances.

This action echoes a similar step taken by the Czech Republic a year ago when border checks were introduced at the Czech-Slovak border due to an increase in refugee arrivals in late September. However, these checks were lifted in early February.

The decision to reintroduce border checks is driven by the resurgence in the numbers of irregular migrants entering the European Union. Prime Minister Fiala emphasized that the safety of citizens is a top priority, and these checks will help ensure security.

The checks will commence at midnight and will be conducted randomly to minimize disruption to cross-border traffic and passengers. Interior Minister Rakusan emphasized that the goal is to strike a balance between enhanced security and minimizing inconvenience to travelers.

The Czech authorities are in communication with their counterparts in Slovakia, Austria, and Germany to coordinate efforts and maintain regional security.

The Interior Ministry emphasized the requirement for valid passports or ID cards for crossing the border, and anyone may be subject to checks. Therefore, individuals near the border are advised to carry valid identification documents.

The police will oversee the checks, with a focus on road and rail crossings, although pedestrians and cyclists may also be subject to inspections. The Czech Republic shares 27 former border crossings with Slovakia, including 17 road, seven rail, and three river crossings, highlighting the scope of the operation.

In summary, the Czech Republic’s decision to reintroduce border checks with Slovakia reflects a proactive response to the increasing numbers of refugees seeking entry into the European Union. The government is prioritizing the safety of its citizens while aiming to minimize disruptions to legitimate cross-border activities. Coordination with neighboring countries underscores the importance of regional collaboration in addressing border security challenges.

Article by Prague Forum

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