Poland imposes vehicle checks at border with Slovakia

Mateusz Morawiecki: I have ordered the interior minister to introduce border controls at the Polish-Slovak frontier. Leszek Szymański/PAP

Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, has ordered the interior minister to introduce checks of vehicles at the Polish-Slovak border to stop migrants from crossing Poland on their way to Germany via the so-called Balkan route.

"I have ordered the interior minister to introduce border controls at the Polish-Slovak frontier to cover mini-vans, vans, passenger vehicles and coaches which can be suspected of carrying illegal migrants," Morawiecki said in Krasnik, eastern Poland, on Monday. 

Having pointed out that illegal migrants had been entering Poland via the so-called Balkan route, through Hungary and Slovakia, the prime minister said that there was no border between Poland and Slovakia as both countries were part of the EU's border-free Schengen zone.

"We do not control this border but I have ordered the interior minister to introduce checks at this frontier... so that no one could accuse us of having a leaky border," Morawiecki stated.

The Western Balkan route is one of the main migratory paths into Europe.

In the broader context of border security, the prime minister said that Poland had managed to defend its border with Belarus against illegal migration.

Last October, Poland completed a 186-km barrier consisting of a five-metre steel fence topped with razor wire on its border with Belarus having experienced heightened migratory pressure from that country with thousands of migrants trying to get into the Polish territory. In June this year, an electronic barrier comprised of cameras, thermal-vision surveillance equipment and sensors was added to the Polish-Belarusian border wall. 

Earlier in the day, Piotr Mueller, the government spokesman told a Polsat News private television programme that "Poland is close to taking a decision on strengthening controls at its border with Slovakia due to reports, according to which illegal migrants are reaching Poland from that country via the Western Balkans route." 

Mueller also said that Poland had also been analysing another potential migrant route, namely from the Italian island of Lampedusa, which he also called the Italian migration route.

Welcome to The First News weekly newsletter

Every Friday catch up on our editor’s top pick of news about Poland, including politics, business, life and culture. To receive your free email subscription, sign up today.