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21 June, 2024
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EU ministers to strengthen migration policies

EU states reaffirm joint efforts on migration


At a ministerial meeting in Nicosia on May 16-17, 2024, eight EU member states, Austria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Malta, and Poland, reaffirmed their commitment to address the challenges posed by irregular migration. The ministers outlined a pragmatic and sustainable approach to the EU's external migration policy, with a particular focus on Syria and broader regional dynamics.

The ministers emphasized the importance of the recently adopted EU Pact on Migration and Asylum, marking it as a crucial step toward a unified European response to migration and asylum challenges. They underscored that the effectiveness of EU migration policies hinges on robust actions in the external dimension, necessitating continued reform of EU migration and asylum policies with greater emphasis on external relations.

The ministers condemned irregular migration, human trafficking, and hybrid threats, including those instigated by foreign governments. They stressed the necessity of upholding the EU's principles, including respect for fundamental values, international law, and humanitarian law. Decisions on border crossings must rest with member states, not criminal networks. They called for an end to the tragic loss of life at sea and the dismantling of trafficking networks, bringing those responsible to justice.

Recognizing the burden on neighboring countries hosting large numbers of displaced persons, the ministers called for enhanced support to these nations through equipment, training, and cooperation to manage migration flows and provide protection. They highlighted the need for continued and extended EU cooperation with Lebanon to mitigate the risk of increased migration flows from Lebanon to the EU.

The situation in Syria was a key focus, with ministers acknowledging the necessity of providing support to those in need under international law. They noted the significant changes in Syria since the outbreak of war in 2011 and called for a re-evaluation of the current situation. They emphasized the need to explore tailored approaches for more effective handling of migration issues, aligned with the European Council's conclusions on creating conditions for the safe, voluntary, and dignified return of Syrian refugees.

The ministers agreed to continue their collaborative efforts, ensuring compliance with international and European law. This summit marked an important step in reassessing the situation in Syria and could lead to broader discussions on the provision of international protection for Syrian refugees.

Cyprus  |  EU  |  migration

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