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Slovakia begins border checks with neighboring Hungary in an effort to curb migration

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SAHY, Slovakia — Slovakia started conducting visitors checks on its border with neighboring Hungary on Thursday amid what it says is a dramatic rise in migrants crossing onto its territory. The coverage joins a flurry of comparable border measures different Central European international locations have imposed in latest days.

The elevated border safety got here as a response to Slovakia’s neighbors, together with Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland, reintroducing controls at their very own borders with Slovakia on Wednesday to curb migrants coming in from the nation. Every of the border management insurance policies are set to final for at the very least 10 days.

At a border crossing in Sahy, Slovakia — a 90-kilometer (55-mile) drive north of Hungary’s capital, Budapest — two Slovakian police flagged down autos Thursday to conduct inspections. It is a departure from the convenience of journey lengthy afforded to members of Europe’s visa-free Schengen space, final restricted when some international locations sealed their borders within the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attila Varga, a village caretaker within the Slovakian settlement of Horne Turovce, stated he travels throughout the border by automotive every day, and that the brand new controls had been more likely to gradual him down as he crosses to and from work.

“It relies on what sort of management they impose, whether or not they cease each automotive or single out one or two,” he stated. “In the event that they single out one or two vehicles then it’s not an issue, but when they cease each automotive then there shall be big traces, similar to throughout COVID.”

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European Union international locations have been going through a major enhance in migration this yr from Africa, Syria and different locations, with many migrants transiting Czech, Slovak or Austrian territory on their strategy to western Europe.

A big portion of these migrants journey into the EU on the so-called Balkan route, crossing Hungary’s southern border with Serbia or Croatia. They accomplish that regardless of a 320-kilometer (200-mile) border fence that Budapest started constructing in 2015 as greater than 1 million migrants entered Europe, fleeing conflict and poverty in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.

Hungary has lengthy taken a tough line in opposition to migration, vehemently opposing EU proposals to redistribute asylum seekers among the many bloc’s 27 member international locations. The EU’s prime court docket dominated in June that Hungary had flouted the bloc’s legal guidelines and infringed on migrants’ rights by systematically forcing them again throughout its southern border and into Serbia.

But regardless of Hungary’s strict immigration insurance policies, Slovakia says there’s been an enormous enhance in migrants coming from its southern neighbor’s territory this yr. Based on the Ministry of Inside, the nation registered 39,688 migrants from the start of the yr till Oct. 1 — an 11-fold enhance from a yr in the past.

Regardless of the rise, Istvan Matusov, a retired automotive mechanic from the border city of Sahy, stated he would not imagine the brand new border controls will do a lot to scale back the variety of migrants coming into Slovakia since its inexperienced borders stay largely unguarded.

“The exterior Schengen borders needs to be managed, not the interior borders,” Matusov stated. “That might be an answer, but it surely looks like the gents in Brussels cannot decide.”

The 65-year-old is not the one one blaming EU decision-makers for the state of affairs. Hungary’s international minister, Peter Szijjarto, advised a information convention in Budapest on Wednesday that the EU “is totally guilty for the growing migration stress in Central Europe.”

“Brussels is encouraging migration and supporting the enterprise mannequin of individuals smugglers by continually pushing for obligatory resettlement quotas, that are a magnet for migrants to Europe,” Szijjarto stated. “We name on Brussels to finish this migration coverage instantly.”


Observe AP’s international migration protection at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

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