Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides stressed on Thursday the need for a comprehensive and substantive solution with a view to achieve an effective management of migration flows to the EU, pointing out the disproportionate migratory pressure on Cyprus.
Speaking during the informal Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) meeting, in Helsinki, the Minister also rejected a Franco-German proposal to create a central Mediterranean "Temporary Mechanism" for distributing migrants who arrive on vessels, and called for immediate action on the external dimension of the migration issue.
In particular, in his intervention Petrides highlighted the geopolitical situation with regard to Cyprus, that is substantially affected by Turkey`s illegal occupation of part of the island's territory, as well as Ankara's attitude, which have created disproportionate immigration challenges for the island.
The Minister once again called on the European partners "to support the efforts of the Republic to manage the situation effectively, stressing the need for effective measures of solidarity in the form of redistributions."
With regard to the Franco-German initiative to create a temporary central Mediterranean facility to distribute the number of people arriving on vessels, Cyprus expressed its opposition to the possibility of "categorizing migration flows in a way that any mechanism would concern on the central Mediterranean countries". Petrides stressed that "Cyprus will support solutions that will address the excessive flows that our country receives, as well as the other eastern Mediterranean countries, like Greece."
Finally, Petrides also advocated immediate action on the external dimension of the migration issue, such as the operation of a European return mechanism, the conclusion of more readmission agreements between the EU and third countries, the establishment of a European list of safe third countries and the conclusion of agreements with third countries to establish safe reception and screening centers for those seeking protection. "
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.