Cyprus | Joint Ministerial Statement at MED5 Summit in Paphos
Defence Redefined
Published on 10/10/2022 at 08:30

The fourth meeting of the Ministers of Interior and Immigration of the Med5 group (Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Malta) was held in Paphos.

The Summit was addressed, via video conference, by Home Affairs Commissioner, Ylva Johansson, Czech Interior Minister, Vit Rakusan, and Italian Interior Minister, Luciano Lamorghese.

The aim of the Summit was to optimally coordinate the positions of the group of five EU member-states for the new European Pact on Migration and Asylum.

In a joint statement after the 4th Ministerial Summit held in the context of the preparation of a coordinated position ahead of the European Council in Luxembourg on October 14, they note that after a detailed discussion of the internal and external dimensions of European immigration policy, they aim towards a holistic management of asylum and immigration issues.

MED5 expressed its appreciation for the joint roadmap of the European Parliament and the European Council to reach a comprehensive and balanced agreement on asylum and immigration. 

However, they also underline that the negotiations must proceed with a balanced approach and also encourage all parties to engage in an honest dialogue to create a truly joint immigration management system.

Also read: Green Line | 300 new police officers for its surveillance

In their joint statement, the Ministers of the five countries ask, among other things, the European Commission and the European Council to finally recognize the increased duties assigned to the frontline Member-States and the additional ones arising in the field of immigration, reception, asylum, and integration management, introducing swift and effective EU-wide fair burden-sharing measures, thus ensuring a right balance between solidarity and fair allocation of responsibilities.

They also call for an effective predictable and mandatory solidarity mechanism that reflects the needs on the ground and to emphasize border management, through enhanced surveillance at the origin and prevention of irregular crossings.

They also call on the Commission and Member-States to take into account the specificities of geographical conditions and geopolitical developments, while underlining hybrid threats and the instrumentalization of immigration flows from some neighboring countries, especially after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

As was noted, there is a need to assess the actual conditions in the immigrants’ countries of origin.

Finally, a special reference is made to the Green Line of Cyprus and specifically that greater emphasis should be placed on border management at the external borders of the Union, through enhanced pre-border surveillance along all immigration routes and prevention of irregular crossings. This includes the Green Line – in the case of Cyprus – which must be dealt with sufficiently, due to the special conditions that apply, despite the fact that it is not an external border of the EU.

Also read: Barriers across the Green Line to deal with illegal immigrant crossings

The proposal by the Republic of Cyprus to study the possibility of amending the mechanism for submitting asylum requests, so that they are submitted outside the EU, either in the immigrants’ countries of origin or transit and before their arrival on European soil, will be raised by the Minister of the Interior, Nikos Nouris, at the upcoming Council of Internal Affairs of the EU, in Luxembourg.

He also said that, despite not being an external border of the Republic of Cyprus, the Green Line is nevertheless the crossing point for almost 94% of irregular immigrants from our occupied territories, thus raising the issue of immigrants’ exploitation by third parties.

According to him, the Swiss Government will support the Asylum Service of the Ministry of the Interior with 10 million euros, with the relevant agreement to be signed between the responsible Ministers in Bern on October 31, while he noted the financial assistance of the Czech Republic amounting to 1 million euros to support the efforts of the Return Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which, as he said, succeeded under extremely adverse conditions in returning almost 5000 irregular immigrants to their countries of origin this year. 

The Minister of Migration of Greece, Notis Mitarakis, in turn, underlined the need to restart the return process in Turkey, based on the Joint Declaration signed between the two parties in 2016, noting that Turkey’s attempt to instrumentalize immigration and its refusal to honor the commitments arising from the EU-Turkey Joint Declaration, causes concern and reflection, as does its inflammatory and revisionist rhetoric.

Also read: Immigration | The flows from Turkey and the deportations – What Cyprus is asking from the European Union




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