Poland may tighten border checks with Slovakia
Poland wants to tighten controls on its border with Slovakia, Polish media reports, as a growing number of migrants are crossing the Polish-Slovak border irregularly via the so-called ‘Balkan route’.
On Monday, Polish media reported that the decision to tighten controls at the border between Poland and Slovakia was expected to be announced soon by the head of the Interior Ministry, Mariusz Kaminski.
“For over a month, we have been observing an increase in the influx of illegal migrants from Slovakia,” Anna Michalska, a spokeswoman for the Border Guard, told Polish media.
She added that this is an internal border of the Schengen area, so guards cannot carry out any border controls.
“We cannot in any way complicate these controls at the internal borders of the European Union. The only thing we can do is check the legality of the stay and the access roads to the border. And that is what we are doing. But these are only random checks,” she added.
So far this year, Polish border guards have intercepted 544 immigrants crossing the Czech and Slovak borders irregularly, Michalska said. By this time last year, the figure was 122.
“Migration along the border with Slovakia has increased sevenfold from 60 to almost 450 migrants. On the section with the Czech Republic, the statistics have doubled,” she said, adding that Poland had to increase the number of its patrols.
“We are monitoring the situation,” Michalska said, adding that “the reintroduction of border controls is a last resort”.
The increase in the number of migrants crossing the border into Poland is not only being felt in Warsaw, but the German government is also considering new measures on the Polish-German border.
Germany, meanwhile, wants to introduce permanent border controls with Poland and Czechia, as German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said on Sunday, Welt am Sonntag reported.
Faeser has already spoken to her Czech counterpart, and a conversation with Mariusz Kaminski, the head of the Polish interior ministry, is expected to take place soon.
(Charles Szumski | Euractiv.com)