German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has announced temporary checks on Germany’s borders with Poland and the Czech Republic in an effort to curb the influx of asylum seekers. The spot checks, which will target crossings frequently used by human traffickers, are set to begin in the next few days.
This move comes as Germany faces increasing pressure to crack down on the growing number of asylum seekers entering the country. According to recent statistics, 204,000 people have requested asylum in Germany within the first eight months of 2023, representing a 77% increase compared to the same period last year.
However, the issue of border controls has become particularly sensitive in Poland, especially with the upcoming parliamentary elections. There are concerns that the imposition of checks may inflame tensions between Germany and Poland. In response, the Polish government is considering threatening to “seal” its border with Germany in order to deter migrants from entering Poland.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has linked the border crisis with an alleged visas-for-bribes scandal in Poland, calling on the Polish government to “clarify” the accusations. This has further heightened the tensions between the two countries.
The tougher stance on migration by the German government may be influenced by the declining poll numbers of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), to which Interior Minister Faeser belongs. As the SPD faces increasing pressure to regain public support, the government’s decision to implement border controls may be seen as an attempt to appeal to voters who are concerned about immigration.
Interestingly, the use of spot checks allows Germany to bypass the one-month notification requirement to the European Commission before introducing border controls within the EU’s Schengen passport-free travel area. This gives Germany more flexibility in addressing the issue of asylum seekers without being restricted by bureaucratic processes.
As the situation unfolds, it remains to be seen how the temporary checks will affect the flow of asylum seekers and whether they will succeed in curbing human trafficking. The outcome of these measures will undoubtedly have implications for Germany’s relationship with Poland and its stance on immigration in the future.
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