Czech Government Extends Checks at Slovak Border By Further 14 Days

The current checks were due to expire on December 12. Photo credit: Kirk – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Prague, Dec 7 (CTK) – The Czech government today extended the checks at the border with Slovakia by another 14 days, Czech Television has reported. The checks were introduced in late September in response to the uptick of numbers of refugees entering the EU along the West Balkans route. 

The government has extended the checks several times. The current checks were due to expire on December 12. Before the government meeting, Interior Minister Vit Rakusan (STAN) proposed an extension of 30 days.

Based on the Schengen area rules, the checks at the border can remain in effect for a maximum of six months, which is until the end of March. In exceptional cases, checks may last up to two years. The European Commission must be informed about the introduction of border checks in advance.

Rakusan said on Monday that the checks had been effective and that diplomatic efforts to curb migration had also been a success, such as the pressure on Serbia to harmonise its visa policy with the EU’s.

The cabinet last voted to extend the border checks on 27 October. 

The West Balkan route leads through Serbia and Hungary. The migrants, mainly Syrian refugees, are using the Czech Republic as a transit country to continue westwards to other EU states. 

According to the EU’s Frontex agency, the number of irregular migrants entering the EU via the Balkan route from January to September 2022 increased by 170% year-on-year, with 228,000 people being detained at the EU’s external border, the largest number since 2016.

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