As a front-line country, Cyprus expects substantive support from the EU in the face of soaring migrant flows, President Nikos Christodoulides told a gathering of EU leaders in Vienna.

According to deputy government spokesman Yiannis Antoniou, Christodoulides also reiterated the need for the designation of certain areas in Syria as safe, as well as the financial support to Lebanon for an effective management of the migration problem.

During the EU dinner on Friday night, he called for swift migrant returns and the tackling of the primary reasons that trigger migration flows.

Cyprus is facing increasing flows of Syrian irregular migrants from Lebanon with hundreds arriving in recent days.

Christodoulides has discussed the issue with EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen and travelled recently to Beirut for talks with the authorities of the neighbouring country.

The president took part in a dinner hosted by the President of the European Council Charles Michel and the Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer in the presence of the leaders of Denmark, Malta and Slovenia to discuss the EU’s strategic agenda in the next five years.

According to Antoniou, during the discussion Christodoulides “stressed the need for the strengthening of EU defence and security through joint actions and the development of programmes and capabilities.”

On the issue of the economy, he underscored that EU competitiveness should be bolstered through the deepening of the EU single market, strengthening of services, and reducing the administrative burden especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, Antoniou said.

The president returns to Cyprus on Saturday.