The Polish government has announced that they will be implementing temporary border controls with Slovakia in response to the increasing number of illegal migrants attempting to enter Germany through the Balkan route. Internal Affairs Minister Mariusz Kaminski made the announcement during a press conference on Tuesday. Austria and the Czech Republic have also taken similar steps in response to the situation.
According to Kaminski, Polish authorities have detected and detained a total of 551 illegal migrants at the border in just the past two weeks. This marks a significant increase of 1000% compared to last year. Both Poland and Slovakia are part of the Schengen zone, which means that there are usually no standard border controls between the two countries.
The new measures introduced by Warsaw will be in place for an initial period of ten days. Tomasz Praga, the commander of the Polish Border Guard, stated that the controls can be renewed for periods no longer than 20 days. It was also mentioned during the press conference that the total period during which border controls can be restored cannot exceed two months.
“We take such actions because we are a responsible state. We are effectively defending the border with Belarus and we hope that the problem in the Balkans and on the Polish-Slovak border will be effectively solved,” said Kaminski. He blamed the policies of Brussels for the wave of refugees, criticizing the EU’s migration policy as “irresponsible and inadequate to reality.” Kaminski emphasized that tough protection of the EU’s external borders and a change in the asylum system are the only appropriate responses to the wave of illegal migration.
In addition to Poland, the Czech Republic and Austria have also announced border controls with Slovakia. These controls are set to begin at midnight and will initially last for ten days. Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala stated that the inspections will help ensure the safety of their citizens and combat smugglers and traders involved in human misfortune. Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner stated that the aim of the controls is to prevent smugglers from taking alternative routes into the EU via Austria.
In recent weeks, German authorities have also expressed concerns about the influx of asylum seekers and have introduced police patrols at their borders with Poland and the Czech Republic. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasized that the number of refugees arriving in Germany is too high and called for a change in the migration situation. He noted that more than 70% of all refugees arriving in Germany have not been registered beforehand, despite having been in another EU country.
As the situation unfolds, the governments of Poland, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Germany are taking measures to address the growing wave of illegal migration and ensure the safety and security of their citizens. These temporary border controls aim to strengthen border security and prevent the influx of illegal migrants, while also highlighting the need for a comprehensive and effective EU migration policy.