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25 June, 2024
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Cyprus urges EU support for Lebanon amid migration challenges

Cypriot Government seeks assistance in controlling migratory flows and repatriating Syrian citizens


The Cypriot government is pleading with the European Union (EU) for financial support for Lebanon to bolster its border management efforts, according to a report by our Brussels correspondent, George Kakouris.  However, this request is contingent upon the effectiveness of controlling migratory flows. Additionally, Cyprus is advocating for the ability to repatriate Syrian citizens to designated safe areas within the country. While this proposal has garnered support from some EU member states, it faces resistance from major EU countries and the European Commission, citing the issue's complexity. Despite this, Cyprus asserts that political will is essential to address these challenges.

A spokeswoman for the European Commission emphasized the importance of ensuring the safety, voluntariness, and dignity of any refugee returning to Syria, in accordance with UNHCR criteria. Cyprus seeks to designate certain conflict-free areas in Syria, allowing for potential pilot returns of individuals, such as those convicted of crimes. This approach aims to provide asylum status to individuals truly in need while facilitating the return of others to secure regions.

Meanwhile, discussions within the EU have leaned towards providing additional financial aid to Lebanon for border control measures. The unexpected influx of boats has prompted Brussels to explore options for support, with proposals for funding allocations tied to specific obligations for Beirut. Frontex, the EU's border agency, is being considered for a more active role, although it remains unclear whether the recent surge in arrivals is a temporary spike or a long-term trend.

Efforts to manage migration along the Eastern Mediterranean Migration Route have been guided by the EU's action plan, resulting in a decrease in arrivals via the Green Line. Collaboration with Frontex to enhance maritime border surveillance is deemed crucial by the EU to address ongoing challenges effectively.

Discussions on these matters are ongoing, with Cyprus seeking broader EU assistance and coordination to manage migration and border security effectively.

Cyprus  |  migration  |  EU  |  Europe

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