Tue, Oct 3, 2023 5:38 AM
PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Republic and Austria said on Tuesday that they are temporarily reintroducing checks along their borders with Slovakia in an effort to stem a flow of migrants.
In separate announcements, both countries said that the measure will become effective on Wednesday and remain in place for 10 days initially. Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner said at a hastily arranged press statement that the aim is to prevent smugglers from using alternative routes, the Austria Press Agency reported.
Czech Interior Minister Vit Rakusan said the checks “will help us effectively fight" human smugglers.
Rakusan said the step was closely coordinated with neighboring countries, including Poland, which already decided to launch similar checks at its border with Slovakia. He said the controls should not seriously limit traffic across the border.
Czech police said they were planning to deploy 130 officers who will operate along the entire border, not just at official border crossings.
Slovak Prime Minister Ludovit Odor criticized the Czech move, saying it’s necessary to find a Europe-wide solution to the problem of migrants. He said the government will react to the Czech move, possibly on Wednesday.
Germany announced last week it was immediately increasing police patrols along “smuggling routes” on the border with Poland and the Czech Republic in an effort to prevent more migrants from entering the country.
European Union countries have been facing an significant increase of migration this year from Africa, Syria and other places. Many migrants transit Czech or Austrian territory on the way to western Europe.
Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration