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Austria extends border checks with Slovakia

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Austria extends border checks with Slovakia
A sign reading 'control' ('Kontrolle') stands on the road at the German-Austrian border near Lindau, southern Germany. Controls currently exist on the German-Austrian border, and will be extended for the Austrian-Slovak border. (Photo by STEFAN PUCHNER / DPA / AFP)

Austria, the Czech Republic, and Poland said Thursday they were extending border checks set up to curb migration via their neighbour Slovakia until November 2nd.

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Slovakia has recently seen growth in the number of migrants and asylum seekers coming largely from Serbia via Hungary and heading to wealthier Western European countries.

Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland introduced the checks on October 4, originally to last for 10 days.

"The temporary checks will be extended until November 2," Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski told the public Polskie Radio.

Announcing the extension, Czech Interior Minister Vit Rakusan said police had checked 43,749 people and found 283 undocumented migrants coming in from Slovakia from October 4-9. "We have also detained and charged 12 smugglers," Rakusan added.

Austria's interior ministry said it too was extending its checks until November 2 to thwart any "evasive" attempts to smuggle people via the Alpine country.

Slovakia detected approximately 24,500 undocumented migrants in January-August, compared with 10,900 for all of last year. It launched checks on the Hungarian border on October 5th in response to the
measure adopted by Prague, Vienna, and Warsaw the day before.

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Deploying 300 soldiers a day on the Hungarian border, the Slovak government said Wednesday it would extend its checks until November 3rd.

Germany, where many of the migrants and asylum seekers are heading, tightened checks on its eastern border with the Czech Republic and Poland at the end of September.

Its Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has also raised the possibility of controls on the Polish and Czech borders, a measure already in place along the boundary between Germany and Austria.

The countries tightening controls are all members of the European Union and of Europe's Schengen open-borders zone. The reintroduction of border checks in the Schengen Area is permitted in exceptional circumstances, and Brussels must be notified before implementation.

Poland's Kaminski said Warsaw would announce its move to the European Commission on Thursday. "There are good results, there are clear effects. There will be no illegal migration routes through Poland," added Kaminski, whose country is holding a crunch general election on Sunday.

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