Interior Minister Nicos Nouris on Friday spoke of an alarming migratory flow increase to Europe outlining the main talking points of this year’s Med5 summit, which will gather the interior ministers of Italy, Spain, Greece, Malta and Cyprus on the island for the first time.
The summit will take place in Paphos on October 7 and 8.
“It is a fact that the Med5 countries receive and manage a clearly disproportionately larger number of migrants compared to other European states,” Nouris said.
“The summit’s ultimate objective is the revision of the existing legislative framework regulating the European asylum and immigration system, so that it is based on the equal sharing of the principle of solidarity and responsibility, as provided for in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
Nouris added that in recent years, and particularly this year, the challenges faced by Cyprus and by the other members of the Med5, as far as asylum and immigration issues are concerned, have escalated significantly.
“The influx of irregular migratory flows to Europe is increasing at an alarming rate, while the food crisis and climate change, combined with the war in Ukraine, have created new migratory waves,” he said.
“The existing scenario is creating several issues in finding effective ways of managing the EU’s external borders, which is a top priority for us.
“With these facts in mind, the importance of the summit we are organising in Cyprus on the is of particular significance for us,” the interior minister said.
Nouris also slammed Turkey “for systematically assisting, promoting and instrumentalising irregular migratory flows to the Republic” and added that the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson will join the Med5 summit remotely.
“Cyprus has already taken huge steps in regulating the arrival of illegal migrants by establishing a ‘return office’ under the direction of the interior ministry, which has managed to return around 4,500 irregular migrants back to their countries of origin in 2022 alone,” Nouris said.
“Our goal at the Med5 Summit is to come up with a joint declaration co-signed by all the five countries taking part in it, so that our common position on migratory flows can become clear ahead of the next summit in Luxembourg on October 14 and 15,” Nouris concluded.