December 02
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Austria will begin checking travel documents at its border with Slovakia following a similar decision by the Czech Republic to ban migrants from entering without permission, AP reports.

The checks were to begin at midnight Wednesday and will initially be carried out at 11 border crossings over 10 days, the Austrian government said.

The Interior Ministry says the border checks are intended to prevent migrant smugglers from using Austria as an alternative route.

Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are part of the European Union's visa-free Schengen zone, where residents of member countries can usually cross borders without showing passports or visas. In the past, Schengen countries have imposed temporary border controls for a variety of reasons, including to deter illegal migration and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer told reporters that he will meet with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic next week to discuss the migration issue.

Austria introduced controls at its borders with Hungary and Slovenia in 2015, when more than 1 million asylum seekers from war-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan arrived in the European Union. The Alpine country has repeatedly extended these controls, which are still in force.

Most migrants do not want to stay in the Czech Republic or Slovakia, but try to get into richer countries such as Germany, Sweden and Austria.

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