Czech Government Extends Slovak Border Checks by 20 Days

The Czech government extended its checks on the border with European Union neighbour Slovakia by another 20 days, seeking to control a spike in the flow of illegal migrants, Interior Minister Vit Rakusan said on Wednesday.

Czech police started checks on the 252-km border on September 29, initially for 10 days.

Within the first 24 hours of activating checks, the Czech police have detained 11 migrant traffickers and 247 illegal migrants in the South Moravian Region.

Border checks across 17 crossings on the Czech-Slovak border were put in place in light of a rise in illegal migration to Europe, particularly from Syria.

Before the checks, the Czech Republic had detained around 12,000 illegal migrants in 2022, a 12-fold increase from a year ago.

The vast majority have been Syrians, mostly coming from Turkey, the government has said. They mainly continue to Germany and elsewhere.

Slovakia has criticised the Czech border checks as being against the principles of the border check-free Schengen area within the EU.

Rakusan also argued that Hungary was to blame for the problem as the country has stopped observing the readmission agreement of reciprocal acceptance of refugees.

Rakusan also said he would like to discuss modifications to the asylum law and strengthening of EU external border protection at a meeting of EU Interior Ministers.

The Interior Ministry has raised the combined capacity of its refugee facilities from 800 to 1,040, and is carrying out random border checks.

He also said that in cooperation with Justice Minister Pavel Blazek (ODS) he would submit a proposal to toughen sentences for people smugglers.

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