The Czech Republic will provide €1 million in financial aid to Cyprus to assist the island with voluntary migrant deportations.

The island’s interior minister, Nicos Nouris, and the Czech Republic’s First Deputy Prime Minister Vit Rakušan, signed an agreement on Friday on the sidelines of the MED 5 Ministerial Summit in Paphos.

The Czech Republic’s contribution comes as a response to the call by Cyprus for assistance from EU members states, in order to tackle the challenge of the increasing migratory flows into the country.

After the signing of the agreement, Nouris said that the Czech Republic’s actual financial support towards Cyprus, demonstrates “the solidarity that has been gradually consolidated among member states as regards the management of the migration issue, in particular towards the member states at the forefront which carry the heaviest burden.”

He added that the €1 million coming from Czech Republic in 2022, will be used to finance the voluntary returns of those migrants whose asylum applications have been rejected.

For his part, Rakušan said that Europe faces a series of crises, adding that migration is a common problem, not just for Cyprus, but also for Central Europe. He noted that there are more than 400,000 refugees from Ukraine in the Czech Republic, which corresponds to 0.8 per cent of the population.

“The number of illegal migrants through the Czech Republic is higher than before, we can understand your situation very well. In order to face this series of crises in Europe we have to know what solidarity is,” he added.

Rakušan said the financial assistance from the Czech Republic to Cyprus “is a sign of solidarity” and proof that the situation other countries are facing is well known within the EU.

According to Rakušan, this contribution may help Cyprus with its policy of migrant returns, which he called “important for your country, for your future.”