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Czechs to end checks at Slovak border amid migration decline


PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Republic's government will end checks on the country's border with Slovakia that were renewed last year amid a new increase in migration, officials said Wednesday.

The measure has been in place since Sept. 29 at 27 border crossings between the two European Union countries, which belong to the visa-free Schengen zone. It was initially supposed to last for 10 days.

The authorities will stop carrying out the checks on Sunday after more than four months.

The Czech Interior Ministry argued at the time that the border controls were necessary after authorities detained nearly 12,000 migrants on Czech territory last year, most of them from Syria. That was more than during Europe's migration crisis of 2015.

Interior Minister Vit Rakusan said that about 400 migrants were detained on a daily basis in September.

“The numbers have significantly dropped,” Rakusan said Wednesday.

The ministry said that more than 3 million people have been checked, with 2,545 being denied entry. Around 10,000 migrants and 141 suspected human smugglers were detained.

The ministry said that the refugees have been using the Czech Republic as a transit country on their way to countries further west.

Schengen countries have adopted temporary border controls in the past for various reasons, including to curb illegal migration and to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.


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