Yesterday, February 18, 2021, an inter-ministerial meeting was held between the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulides and the Minister of Interior Nikos Nouris with the participation of experts from the two Ministries, focusing on discussion and coordination for the most effective promotion of Cypriot positions in the context of debate on the New European Union Migration Pact.
During the internal discussion, the seriousness of the migration issue was stressed once again, along with the disproportionate weight of the migration flows that burned the shoulders of Cyprus as a front-line country. Due to its features as a semi-occupied state with an island character, Cyprus has received for the fourth year in a row more asylum applications from the population among EU member states. The percentage of asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection is 4% of the population, a particularly high percentage compared to the corresponding 1% in other Member States.
It was also noted that the vast majority of migrant flows are generated in Turkey, which does not implement any framework agreed with Cyprus on addressing migration and has created with its attitude – instead of prevention – a new migration route in the eastern Mediterranean. affecting Cyprus, resulting in the island carrying an excessive burden which essentially puts its national asylum system to the test. Stresseds stressed that, given all the special circumstances prevailing, there is a need for the European Commission and relevant international organizations to help find immediate practical solutions to prevent illegal leaks and ensure legal returns.
In this context, the two Ministers drafted a specific action plan and agreed on the joint steps of the two Ministries at all levels, technocratic and political, in Brussels and internationally, in order to understand the problem in its true dimensions and provide the necessary assistance to Cyprus, both in terms of EU legislation and policy, in order to deal effectively with the problem.
It was agreed that immigration would be at the top of the agenda of contacts between the two Ministers, which would remain in constant coordination with the Jumbo Council, which Brussels announced would take place on 15 March (Joint Council of Ministers). External and Internal), as well as general discussions regarding Turkey dealing with institutions and partners.