In December 2023, Germany recorded 2,876 unauthorized entries, marking a decrease compared to the figures from November and the second half of October. This decline is attributed to the temporary reintroduction of controls at the borders with Poland, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland.
As part of efforts to halt irregular migration and combat smuggling, German authorities decided to reimpose border checks with its south and east neighboring countries. Berlin first notified the European Commission about the introduction of frontier checks on October 16, 2023, mentioning concerns about irregular migration via the Eastern Mediterranean route, the Balkan region, and through the Eastern route.
Since then, Germany has notified the Commission four times about the extension of the same measure, which is set to last until March 15, 2024. Additionally, controls at the land borders with Austria have been in place since 2015, and they have been extended several times due to a big influx of persons seeking international protection.
According to the German Federal Police, a total of 120,052 unauthorized entries were registered in Germany last year, showing an increase from the figures in 2022 and 2021. Weather conditions have also played a role in the recent decline in unauthorized entries, making it more difficult for migrants to cross borders as the weather gets colder.
The reintroduction of controls at the internal borders is permitted to all EU countries under the Schengen Borders Code (SBC) in case of a serious threat to public or internal security, and must be applied as a last resort measure in exceptional situations, respecting the principle of proportionality.
In response to the increased number of irregular border crossings and the war between Israel and Hamas, several EU countries have reintroduced frontier checks. Czechia and Austria have announced the further extension of such measures to better manage the migration situation.
Czechia announced the extension of border controls with Slovakia until February 2 due to irregular migration and smuggling concerns, while Austria decided to prolong border controls with Czechia once again to better manage the migration situation. These measures aim to address the ongoing challenges related to irregular migration and people smuggling in the region.
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