Austria / Slovakia / Hungary – Two weeks ahead of a meeting of interior and defense ministers from Central European countries and Germany in Austria, on February 8, Austria announced her will to tighten border controls with Slovakia.
“I am noticing a trend here that the smugglers are now using Slovakia,” the Kurier daily cited Hans-Peter Doskozil as saying in its online edition. 299 migrants have been intercepted so far this year in Lower Austria state bordering Slovakia and the Czech Republic. This compares with 174 in Burgenland state, whose border with Hungary has been the main area for controls so far, wrote thelocal.at.
Despite the Hungarian border fence, migrants still have many ways to get to the western part of the EU. Also, many migrants who enter legally the territory of Hungary do leave the open centers to follow illegally their journey to Germany or Scandinavia.
“We have to intensify railway controls at the border with Slovakia. And on the other hand we have to consider ideas on how to increase voluntary repatriation – my idea is that we concentrate illegal migrants with in basic camps and offer consultations for their return back home,” told the press Austrian Defense Minister Hans-Peter Doskozil.
At the western end of the country, Doskozil also said 292 people were caught so far in 2017 in Tyrol state after crossing from Italy but that most of these were sent back over the border.
Slovakia more and more concerned by the migration topic
As Austria flipped-flopped on the massive immigration topic, Slovakia has now to get even more involved on this issue. Austrian Interior minister announced that negotiations started with Slovakia, in order to send back there illegals from Austria.
In 2016, Austria decided to grant up to 37,500 places for asylum seekers, but this year, it dropped to 35,000. Therefore, more than 2,000 people could be sent to Slovakia.
Meantime, the International Organization for Migration reports about 1,019 refugees resettled from Slovakia to USA, Canada and Norway since 2007.