Germany will strengthen border controls with Poland and the Czech Republic
Germany will implement stronger border controls with Poland and the Czech Republic to help fight human trafficking, Germany's interior minister said on Tuesday, as rising migration boosts support for the far-right ahead of local elections.
Germany has taken in about 1 million Ukrainian refugees over the past year, while non-Ukraine-related asylum requests have risen sharply. Local authorities say they are building new housing but are struggling to meet demand.
Concerns about migration have pushed the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party to second in national polls and first in the east of the country ahead of elections on October 8 in the states of Hesse and Bavaria.
In an interview with public radio "Deutschlandfunk", Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, a member of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's center-left Social Democrats (SPD), said that Germany will establish border controls with Poland and the Czech Republic.
"We will prepare stronger border controls to better fight human traffickers," said Ms. Faeser, who is running in the Oct. 8 election for Hesse state premier.
She did not say when the new measures would be implemented. Politico reported that the new controls would be officially announced on Wednesday. The Interior Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
Chancellor Scholz, whose party is trailing in polls in the state of Hesse, hinted last week that Germany could take steps to strengthen its border with Poland after calling on the Polish government to clarify allegations of a paid visa deal. for migrants.
The issue is expected to become a point of contention for Mr Scholz's tripartite government coalition. The coalition partners expressed their deep skepticism about the border plan.
Germany has set up checkpoints on the Bavarian border with Austria since the European migrant crisis in 2015, when more than 1 million migrants arrived in the country, many fleeing war in the Middle East.
The chancellor at the time, the conservative Angela Merkel, was praised for her policies at the time. Critics say this has boosted support for the far-right AfD party, which is expected to win three regional elections in the east of the country next year.