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Germany announces controls to combat migrant surge

BERLIN: Germany will introduce new border controls with Poland and the Czech Republic this week, the German interior minister announced on Wednesday, saying that more should be done to protect the European Union’s fragile system of open borders.

Germany saw its first-time asylum requests rise by 78 per cent in the first seven months of 2023, according to official data. In August, registered illegal border crossings to Germany reached 14,701, up 66 per cent on the same month last year, police data shows.

“If we do not succeed in better protecting the external borders …, then the open borders within the EU are in danger,” Nancy Faeser told reporters in Berlin.

She said the focus of the new measures would be people smugglers, which she said facilitated the passage of a quarter of the migrants entering Germany.

“We want to prevent evasive movements of smugglers through flexible and mobile controls at changing locations,” she said, adding that the measures would be initiated in concert with Poland and the Czech Republic.

Czech police have increased random checks on the Slovak border as well as on highways to Germany, Czech police president Martin Vondrasek said.

Migration features high on the agenda in Germany ahead of a string of state elections in which the far right is hoping to boost its sway, starting with polls in Bavaria and Hesse on October 8.

Municipalities have called for more funding to cope with arrivals, pointing to stretched accommodation and services reminiscent of 2015, when Germany took in over 1 million refugees fleeing war in the Middle East.

– Reuters