October 14, 2015 / 11:20 AM / 3 years ago

Slovakia sends police to guard Hungary's border against migrants

Migrants walk towards the Austrian border from Hegyeshalom, Hungary, October 6, 2015. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - The Slovak government voted on Wednesday to send 50 police officers to help neighboring Hungary control the number of migrants crossing its border on the southern boundary of the European Union.

Slovakia and other central European nations, who have seen tens of thousands of migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and other conflict zones enter their territory, have said the bloc needs to strengthen its external boundaries as part of any collective response.

EU members have struggled to agree on a strategy to tackle the migrant crisis. Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic all opposed a plan for mandatory national quotas to share out 120,000 asylum seekers among the bloc’s 28 member states that was approved last month.

“If the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary join their forces it will be a significant contribution to the protection of the Schengen border between Hungary and Serbia,” Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said, referring to the boundary marking the start of the EU’s passport-free zone.

The Slovak police would work on Hungary’s border with Serbia for a month, according to documents on the government website. The Czech government has also agreed to send soldiers and police.

Reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova; Writing by Robert Muller; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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