The Czech government has imposed temporary controls on its borders with Slovakia to prevent irregular migrants from entering the country.
An increasing number of irregular migrants are crossing the Czech border, most of whom are Syrians coming to the EU from Turkey.
“What we are experiencing is an unprecedented situation in terms of illegal migration. Since the start of 2022, the police have seized a total of 11,000 illegal migrants on the territory of the Czech Republic,” Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan informed.
Along with irregular migration comes organised crime like smuggling, which has also recently increased.
To tackle the issue, the interior ministry wants to propose stricter punishment for those actively involved in smuggling.
“We have exhausted all the standard options,” Rakušan said, explaining why the country decided to impose border controls with Slovakia, its closest ally.
The Czech Republic is traditionally a transition country, with most migrants only passing its territory to reach neighbouring Germany. “This situation triggered nervousness even on the German side of the border,” Rakušan explained.
The Czech police authorities will launch border controls for ten days from Thursday (29 September), in line with Schengen codex. During this period, further measures will be considered, including the extension of controls in case of necessity.
The Czech government has notified the neighbouring countries and the EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson.
The government also wants to discuss the issue with its Visegrad partners – Slovakia, Poland, Hungary – as well as with Austria, the interior minister informed. According to the minister’s information, Austria also faces illegal migration influx.
“We, as the (Council of the EU) presidency country call the European Commission to negotiate with all relevant partners, including non-EU ones,” Rakušan added, saying that his aim is to keep migration under control.