Czech government extends Slovak border checks till Dec 12

PRAGUE (Reuters) -The Czech government has extended checks on its border with European Union neighbour Slovakia until Dec. 12 as it seeks to slow the flow of illegal migrants, the Interior Ministry said on Thursday.

Czech police started checks on the 252-km (157 mile) border on Sept. 29, initially for 10 days. The checks were then extended until this Friday.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala originally said the checks were to be extended until Nov. 12.

Slovakia has criticised the checks as being against the principles of the EU's open-border Schengen area, to which both countries belong.

Before launching the checks, the Czech Republic had detained around 12,000 illegal migrants since the start of 2022, sharply up from around 1,000 in the whole of last year.

A majority of the migrants were Syrians, arriving mainly from Turkey, the government has said. Most intended to continue their journey to Germany or other western EU member states.

As of Thursday, the police had identified nearly 5,500 illegal migrants because of the checks, CTK news agency reported.

(Reporting by Robert MullerEditing by Gareth Jones and Toby Chopra)