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Austria to expand border controls with Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia

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“Austria will extend checks at the border with Slovakia from October 28, 2022. With this step, Austria follows the neighboring Czech Republic, which announced on October 27, 2022 that it will also extend identity checks at the border with Slovakia – initially in 15 days and then another 30 days,” said Austria. Ministry of Interior in a press release Checks will continue until 12 December.

Border controls with Hungary and Slovenia will remain in effect until at least mid-May. According to Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner, measures are necessary in the fight against illegal immigration.

“Border controls are still needed in Slovakia, because otherwise the smugglers will immediately react and change their course. We will not allow this dirty business and we will continue to fight relentlessly against the smuggling mafia,” he said.

According to Karner, all border controls are carried out “in close coordination with the interior ministers of neighboring countries”. In recent days, Slovak representatives have been harshly critical of the Austrian government’s actions.

Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger said that the current situation cannot continue, that Police Chief Štefan Hamran found the measure ineffective and that, according to Interior Minister Roman Mikulce, this is also against the Schengen Law.

The resumption of border controls within the Schengen area, the main feature of which is free movement between member states, is explained in the Schengen Borders Code. It states that such measures should only be applied as a last resort.

This is exactly what the Slovenian and Slovak sides are pointing out. According to them, Austria’s decision is unfounded because the existence of a new security threat has not been proven.

Slovenia also notes that according to Article 25 of the Schengen Border Law, the maximum duration of border controls is six months. Both Vienna and Prague deny infringement. Slovenia also expects the European Commission to deal more closely with the legitimacy of the temporary resumption of border controls.

The APA agency reminded that Austria and the Czech Republic, as well as Germany, Denmark and France, are currently conducting border controls at the internal borders of the Schengen area.

Source: Seznam Zpravy

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