Czech PM: Bolder steps needed to resolve illegal migration
On his way to the European Political Community summit in Granada on Thursday, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said bolder steps were needed to resolve the growing problem of illegal migration in Europe. Czechia, Austria, Poland and Slovakia this week all reintroduced random border checks in an effort to curb the flow of illegal migrants.
After a break of several months, the stream of illegal migrants crossing to Western Europe via the Western Balkans route has once again increased. With dozens of migrants detained every day, Czechia, Austria and Poland on Wednesday reinstated random border checks on their borders with Slovakia, and, in a domino effect, Bratislava announced a similar measure on its border with Hungary as of Thursday. The restrictions will remain in place for ten days with the possibility of an extension depending on the prevailing circumstances.
Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan said the checks are being conducted selectively along the entire length of the border with Slovakia, but efforts were being made to minimize disruption to cross-border traffic. On the first day of the road checks, officers on the Czech-Slovak border detained over 60 illegal migrants, most of them Syrian nationals.
On his way to the European Political Community summit in Granada on Thursday, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala argued that the current European migration policy is clearly not sufficient and bolder steps are needed to resolve the growing problem of illegal migration in Europe.
"The numbers of illegal migrants streaming to Europe is increasing. They have increased significantly in recent weeks. That is why we introduced temporary controls on the border with Slovakia and other neighbor states did the same. This development shows that the current European migration policy is not working well enough. We need to agree on an effective solution and introduce changes.”
Mr. Fiala said that his country is ready to support bolder steps on the way to change, but will not agree to mandatory quotas. He also stressed the need to address the root of the problem.
“As we see it, the key to success is better protection of the EU’s external borders, a better migrant return policy, prevention of illegal migration through cooperation with the countries of origin and more effective steps taken against people smugglers. For instance, the EU has been actively cooperating with Tunisia, from where migrants often travel to Europe via the Mediterranean, and we really hope to see this cooperation bring results soon in the form of fewer illegal migrants.”
The third European Political Community summit, attended by over forty heads of state and government of European countries, will be followed up on Friday by an informal summit of the European Union, where migration is also expected to be high on the agenda.