anti migration sentiment runs high in slovakia elections
With Europe already struggling to overcome the migrant crisis, local politicians in central European countries like Poland and Slovakia are luring voters with anti-migration sentiment. The politicians are playing the migrant card for a last-minute boost in votes.
HLAS-SD, a pro-European social-democratic party, has set up billboards stating “Stop illegal migration”. But migrants don’t want to stay in Slovakia. It’s just a transit for them, with the final destination usually being Germany.
Nonetheless, Slovakia has recorded a rise in migrants traveling from neighboring Hungary and Ukraine. Reports say the country saw more than 27,000 migrants, a ninefold increase compared to 2022. The government has been doing all it can to improve services for the migrants and refugees in terms of hygiene facilities and food.
However, the Slovaks want the government to stem out migrants for good. They feel scare and unsafe.
Impossible to Seal Slovakia-Hungary Border
Ludovit Odor, Prime Minister of Slovakia, says it’s impossible to seal the 650 km border with Hungary. His government is under pressure for staunch rules against irregular migration. Moreover, there are calls to suspend Europe’s Schengen open border rules. Local politicians and citizens want passport checks reinstated on the Hungarian border. Doing so would stop the increasing number of migrants crossing over from Hungary to Western Europe.
Voices are getting louder for the government to take action. Milan Uhrik, a member of MEP – far-right Republika party, said they are not going to wait until the migrants rape or stab someone. He criticized the Odor-led government for providing food and medical help to the migrants for free. Other parties like Smer and Hlas believe the police should detain the illegal migrants until they are properly identified. They doubt that the majority of the illegal migrants are genuine refugees.
Slovakia Sees Rise in Anti-Migration
Political parties in Slovakia are calling on the government to reintroduce border checks with Hungary and tighter border controls. Because of the influx of migrants into neighboring Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria and Poland have stepped up security on its border. Poland introduced checks for vehicles crossing the border from Slovakia on September 25.
To keep its country safe, Poland is looking at upholding its veto on a EU migration pact wherein the bloc wants to share responsibility for asylum seekers who reach Europe outside of official border crossings. Poland doesn’t want any of it arguing that it is already fulfilling its migrant quota.