Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides says immigration and refugee issues are of “national importance” during comments on return policies for undocumented migrants throughout the EU.
The Republic of Cyprus minister, who met with his Greek counterpart Giorgos Koumoutsakos in Athens, spoke on the need to establish an institutional process for distributing asylum seekers through an automatic relocation mechanism throughout member states of the European Union.
According to Cyprus News Agency, Petrides made a statement on the refugee and migration issue describing them as "national issues both for Cyprus and Greece" and adding that the two countries are working together on a joint policy proposal to share with their EU counterparts.
On Monday, the Cypriot minister attended an impromptu meeting in Paris, following an informal meeting of EU interior ministers last week in Helsinki.
Petrides says Cyprus is under pressure and calls on the EU to support in 'practical ways' the management of refugees reaching the island’s shores
EU ministers reportedly found common ground on a need to institutionalize the distribution of asylum seekers who are rescued in Mediterranean waters.
Petrides said the Republic of Cyprus was under pressure in the last three years, calling on his EU counterparts to support in “practical ways” the management of refugees reaching the island’s shores.
The minister called for a modification in the redistribution mechanisms, pointing out that his island was a small country and that an EU-wide comprehensive approach was necessary to address the Eastern corridor of migration, which he described as “more crowded” than others.
During his Athens visit, Petrides found common ground with Koumoutsakos, who underlined that Greece and Cyprus were facing common challenges on migration.
“This reality is forcing us to work together in order to enhance our collaboration and propose our own positive agenda on the discussion, which is taking place in the European Union regarding a new efficient migration policy,” Koumoutsakos said.