The ministers of Justice and Home Affairs of Cyprus, Greece and Bulgaria on Tuesday issued a joint document on migration pressures in the Eastern Mediterranean, calling for an effective relocation mechanism and adequate support and resources to affected countries.
“With this joint document, we are making it clear – that there can be no European approach to migration, which includes elements of a new emerging crisis, without effectively addressing the migratory flows we face in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides said.
“It is the Eastern Mediterranean that, due to geopolitical factors in the Middle East, receives the overwhelming majority of migrant arrivals, with a particularly alarming upward trend. Our countries have been the main burden bearers for this situation, which we have been sending warning messages to our European partners for a long time.”
Petrides said the EU must agree on a number of concrete measures the three countries proposed in their joint document to address the issue, which was getting worse every day.
The minister also made a detailed reference to the letter he sent last August to all partners and the European Commission to relocate at least 5,000 people from Cyprus to other EU Member States.
“We expect that the new European Commission, which has made migration its top priority, will address the problem at its root, namely in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Petrides said.
The document includes the latest figures that verify that the biggest challenge Europe is faced with comes from the Eastern Mediterranean route.
According to the recent Integrated Situation Awareness and Analysis Situation Reports (European Commission and EEAS), between August 19 and September 1 there were 1,133 arrivals through the Western Mediterranean/Atlantic route, 1,369 through the Central Mediterranean route and 4,879 from the Eastern Mediterranean route.
Similarly, between September 2 and September 9, there were 736 arrivals through the Western Mediterranean/Atlantic route, 480 in the Central Mediterranean route and 2,707 through the Eastern Mediterranean route.
It also states that geopolitical factors, including conflicts in the broader area particularly in Syria, entail that we will most likely see a continuation of this alarming trend in the short to medium term.