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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 nations have imposed in current 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 a minimum of 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 automobiles 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 nations sealed their borders within the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attila Varga, a village caretaker within the Slovakian settlement of Horne Turovce, mentioned he travels throughout the border by automobile every day, and that the brand new controls have been prone to gradual him down as he crosses to and from work.

“It is dependent upon what sort of management they impose, whether or not they cease each automobile or single out one or two,” he mentioned. “In the event that they single out one or two automobiles then it’s not an issue, but when they cease each automobile then there shall be big traces, identical to throughout COVID.”

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European Union nations have been going through a big improve in migration this 12 months from Africa, Syria and different locations, with many migrants transiting Czech, Slovak or Austrian territory on their method 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 achieve this 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 towards migration, vehemently opposing EU proposals to redistribute asylum seekers among the many bloc’s 27 member nations. 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 improve in migrants coming from its southern neighbor’s territory this 12 months. In keeping with the Ministry of Inside, the nation registered 39,688 migrants from the start of the 12 months till Oct. 1 — an 11-fold improve from a 12 months in the past.

Regardless of the rise, Istvan Matusov, a retired automobile mechanic from the border city of Sahy, mentioned he does not imagine the brand new border controls will do a lot to cut back the variety of migrants getting into Slovakia since its inexperienced borders stay largely unguarded.

“The exterior Schengen borders ought to be managed, not the interior borders,” Matusov mentioned. “That might be an answer, but it surely looks as if 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 overseas minister, Peter Szijjarto, advised a information convention in Budapest on Wednesday that the EU “is solely guilty for the rising migration stress in Central Europe.”

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


Comply with AP’s world migration protection at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

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