Cyprus, Greece and Bulgaria present joint document on Eastern route migration pressure

The ministers of Justice and Home Affairs of Cyprus, Greece and Bulgaria, presented on Wednesday a document with their Joint Position and Recommendations on Migration Pressures in the Eastern Mediterranean, at the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council held in Luxembourg.

According to a written statement by the ministry, the initiative aims to “effectively tackle the increasing migration flows along the eastern Mediterranean route”.

Cyprus, Greece and Bulgaria call for the establishment of a functioning common European return mechanism, as Member States alone cannot be effective only through unilateral action, call for an effective mechanism for relocation from the eastern Mediterranean and seek provision adequate support and allocation of resources to affected countries.

Explaining the joint initiative Minister Constantinos Petrides said “with this joint document, we are making it clear – that there can be no European approach to migration, which as a trully contains elements of a new emerging crisis, without effectively addressing the migratory flows we face in the Eastern Mediterranean” .

He also noted that “it is the Eastern Mediterranean that, due to geopolitical factors in the Middle East, receives the overwhelming majority of migrant arrivals, with a particularly alarming upward trend” and made clear that “our countries have been the main burden bearers for this situation, which we have been sending warning messages to our European partners for a long time. “

“We believe that there is no longer room for complacency,” the Minister said, stressing that “the EU must come to an agreement on a number of concrete measures we propose in the joint document to address this situation, which is getting more and more difficult every day.”

The Minister also made a detailed reference to the letter he sent last August to all partners and the European Commission to relocate at least 5,000 people from Cyprus to other EU Member States.

“We expect that the new European Commission, which has made migration as its top priority, will address the problem at its root, namely in the Eastern Mediterranean,” the Minister concluded.

The document shows latest figures that verify that the biggest challenge Europe is faced with comes from the Eastern Mediterranean route. According to the recent Integrated Situation Awareness and Analysis Situation Reports (European Commission and EEAS), between 19 August and 1 September there were 1,133 arrivals through the Western Mediterranean/Atlantic route, 1,369 through the Central Mediterranean route and 4,879 from the Eastern Mediterranean route. Similarly, between 2 and 9 September there were 736 arrivals through the Western Mediterranean/Atlantic route, 480 in the Central Mediterranean route and 2,707 through the Eastern Mediterranean route. It also states that geopolitical factors, including conflicts in the broader area particularly in Syria, entail that we will most likely see a continuation of this alarming trend in the short to medium term.

Source: Cyprus News Agency