Prague, Nov 4 (CTK) – About 300 Czech police, soldiers, customs and prison service officers and firefighters will start training the regime of border checks reintroduction between Czechia and Slovakia in case of a migrant crisis today, Interior Minister Jan Hamacek has told journalists.
The two-day exercise will focus on a 49-km section of the border in the Moravia-Silesia Region, including five border crossings.
A migrant registration point will be installed in the border town Mosty u Jablunkova to help train emergency situations.
“For now, illegal migration has stagnated and the number of detained [illegal migrants] has been lower than during the migrant crisis [of 2015],” Hamacek (Social Democrats, CSSD) said, but added that Czechia must be ready for a possible change in this respect.
“Of course, the trainings are not self-serving,” Hamacek said, mentioning the previous such exercises elsewhere along the Czech borders, which form inner borders of the EU and the Schengen area.
The armed forces will simulate the real conditions that would prevail if border checks would have to be reintroduced.
Deputy Police President Martin Vondrasek said the Czech Republic is prepared for the government’s possible decision to reintroduce border checks.
At the police request, the cabinet previously earmarked 350 million crowns for the purchase of the necessary equipment, devices etc in 2019-2021.
A total of 150 police officers, 60 soldiers, 30 firefighters, 30 customs officers and ten prison service officers are taking part in the exercise that starts this afternoon and that is already the eighth exercise of this type.
At the provisionally installed checkpoint, the police want to train the registration of 80 foreigners, and a medical checkup of migrants will also be trained. The role of migrants will be played by police officers, Police Presidium spokeswoman Hana Rubasova said.
Last time, the Czech armed forces trained the border protection in May along a western section bordering on Bavaria and comprising 12 border crossings including the bustling Rozvadov/Waidhaus.
Last year, the Czech police detained 4,992 foreigners who were staying in the country illegally, which was 254 more than in 2017 and 269 fewer than in 2016. Like in the previous years, the largest group among the uncovered illegal migrants were Ukrainians.
Ukrainians have been the most frequently detained foreigners annually since 2008. The only exception was the year 2015 when the migrant crisis culminated and most refugees used Czechia as a transit country on their way westwards or northwards. The total number of illegal migrants detained in Czechia then climbed to 8,500, the largest share of them coming from Syria.