Cyprus Mail

Interior minister will travel to Brussels to discuss migration issues

Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou
Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou

Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou will travel to Brussels today to discuss the Action Plan for the Eastern Mediterranean and present a package of actions and propose measures for managing increased irregular migration flows, the interior ministry said on Tuesday.

In a press release detailing the minister’s two-day visit, the ministry said that Ioannou will have a series of contacts with European officials, including head of the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission Monique Pariat, to whom he will present the positions of the Republic of Cyprus on the content of the Eastern Mediterranean Action Plan.

The plan was agreed upon by the European Council last February and is currently under discussion. It includes a series of operational measures to address the immediate and ongoing challenges along the Central Mediterranean migratory route.

The interior ministry, in collaboration with the foreign ministry, has drafted a package of actions and measures considered important for managing the increased irregular migratory flows, particularly via the buffer zone, the statement said.

Ioannou will present Cyprus’ positions to the European Commission, “aiming to achieve substantial, tangible, and measurable results in addressing the situation”.

These include a diplomatic approach towards Turkey aligning its visa policy with that of the EU, as well as the implementation of the provisions of the EU-Turkey readmission agreement to all EU member states.

The ministry said Ioannou will also propose awareness campaigns targeting third countries, which will aim to inform people about the realities and dangers of illegal migration, as well as negotiating additional readmission agreements.

He will also request the imposition of sanctions on airlines that facilitate illegal entry into the Republic of Cyprus “and, by extension, the EU”, as well as the development of a regional programme to combat the smuggling of migrants in the Eastern Mediterranean route.

Finally, the ministry said Ioannou intends to propose the provision of additional technical, operational, and economic support to the Eastern Mediterranean region’s member states for more effective management of flows and acceleration of returns.

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