Rakusan Denies Czech-Slovak Border Checks Are Violation of Schengen Code
The Czech Republic introduced checks at its border with Slovakia primarily due to the influx of Syrian refugees in late September. Photo: Czech-Slovak border at Lanzhot. Credit: Kirk via Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA-3.0).
Prague, Oct 29 (CTK) – The Czech Republic is not violating the Schengen Borders Code by extending checks at its border with Slovakia, which is taking place within the framework of international rules, Interior Minister Vit Rakusan (STAN) told CTK yesterday, in response to criticism from Slovak politicians.
Slovak Interior Minister Roman Mikulec told reporters that Slovakia viewed the current border checks at the Czech-Slovak joint border a violation of the Schengen Borders Code. He added that the Czech Republic was also violating the bilateral readmission agreement in connection with the transfer of migrants to Slovakia. Slovak police may propose Bratislava’s withdrawal from this agreement.
The Czech Republic introduced checks at its border with Slovakia primarily due to the influx of Syrian refugees in late September, and has repeatedly decided to extend the measure, now until 12 December. The latest extension on Thursday triggered criticism from Slovak authorities.
According to Rakusan, this is an extreme solution, but he said that if the checks ended now, people smugglers might abuse this again.
“We are tackling illegal migration at the entire European level within the Czech EU presidency. This is not a fight with Slovaks, but primarily with people smugglers who are making illegal profit from human misery,” Rakusan noted.
“During the border checks, Czech police and customs officers and soldiers have uncovered some 60 people who are making money from refugees this way,” he added.
The Austrian Interior Ministry also announced yesterday that it would extend checks at its border with Slovakia by 15 days. The checks were introduced in late September to curb irregular migration, and were originally scheduled to end today.