The conclusions of the special European Council held in Brussels on Thursday include a call to the Commission to present an action plan for the management of the Eastern Mediterranean migration route, following a request by President Anastasiades, Government Spokesperson Marios Pelekanos said on Friday.

Pelekanos said that the leaders of the 27 member states discussed migration management, the economy, as well as developments in Russia’s war against Ukraine and various aspects of EU support to Kiyv, in the presence of President Zelenskiy.

The discussion on migration management focused on the external dimension of the problem, as well as joint action and cooperation with third countries of origin and transit, to both prevent irregular arrivals and to increase returns of those who are not entitled to protection, Pelekanos said, adding that the leaders also discussed ways to prevent instrumentalisation and traffickers.

The spokesperson added that Anastasiades “presented evidence highlighting the unbearable pressure that our country is facing due to the continuing instrumentalisation of migration by Turkey”.

The president also insisted on including in the text of the conclusions a call to the European Commission to present as a matter a priority an action plan for the Eastern Mediterranean, similar to existing plans for the Western Balkans and Central Mediterranean routes, Pelekanos said.

This action plan, the spokesperson explained, “will include holistic operational and diplomatic actions, aiming at a rapid and effective reduction of flows, and the mitigation of pressures on affected member states, including the Republic of Cyprus.”

Anastasiades also expressed his full support to efforts to conclude negotiations on the Immigration and Asylum Pact, which should strike a balance between the principles of responsibility and solidarity.