The Austrian police proceeded in compliance with the law when they recently checked Slovak buses on the Bratislava-Hainburg line - but acted insensitively, said Austrian Interior Minister Maria Theresia Fekter in Luxembourg on Monday, April 6, after meeting her Slovak counterpart, Robert Kaliňák.
According to Fekter, Austrian police carried out the checks because the buses were overcrowded, the TASR newswire wrote. This was therefore a road safety matter, which required the same rules as in Slovakia, she noted.
“I see it as a problem for Slovaks when they can’t cross borders without checks, as Slovakia is part of [the] Schengen [border-free zone]. I've promised the minister [Kalinak] that we’ll act sensitively in future in such cases and will intensify [Slovak-Austrian] communication,” said Fekter. If the buses are not overcrowded, there is no need to check them three times, she added. “This wasn’t a mistake. The police acted correctly with respect to the overcrowded bus, but this was done without sensitivity. If we’re neighbours and have good relations, there’s no need to strengthen such checks,” she added.
According to Kaliňák, it wasn’t necessary to carry out such an intensive inspection in the case of occasional travellers on the bus line, which was renewed to restore the old tradition of transport between Slovakia and Austria. In other matters, Kaliňák and Fekter agreed to improve mutual co-operation in combating illegal immigration and organised crime, mentioning the rising number of stolen cars and burgled flats in particular.
“We want to intensify the checks in this case, so that we can much more successfully fight against organised crimes. Thus [Slovak-Austrian] contacts will be much closer, but when it comes to ordinary tourism, we enjoy free movement between both states. It’s necessary to restrict checks as much as possible ... to only cases where the law is broken or an offence is committed,” Kaliňák added. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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7. Apr 2009 at 10:00