| 3 December 2023, Sunday |

Slovakia struggles with surge in illegal migrants as election looms

Residents of Chlaba say large groups of illegal migrants have been traipsing through their tiny border village in southern Slovakia every day in the past few weeks after fording a local river or crossing a railway bridge from neighbouring Hungary.

The migrants mostly arrive by night and do not intend to stay long as their final destination is usually Germany, but the uptick has stirred anxiety and calls for tighter border controls in Slovakia as it prepares for an election on Sept. 30.

“They don’t want to live or work here, they are in transit, they rush through as they can,” said Jozsef Barta, 70.

Although he knew of no criminal incidents involving the migrants, he added: “People are scared to walk in the street.”

Renata Gregusova, manager of a foodstore where the migrants often drop by, said they ask locals to call the police and sit down by the road, waiting for the police van to take them to a detention centre. There, under a Slovak law, they can get a document registering their entry to the European Union.

“Somehow this (flow) should be limited… They should be checked to find out whether they were really forced to flee their country,” she said.

Around three quarters of Slovaks want the next government to tighten rules against illegal migration, according to a poll by the AKO agency this month.

  • Reuters