President Nikos Christodoulides and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak discussed the matter of migration on Tuesday, amid parallel situations faced on the issue at either end of the European Union.

Cyprus, on the European Union’s eastern edge, has in recent weeks seen increased flows of asylum seekers arriving from Lebanon, while Ireland, on the EU’s western edge, has seen increased flows of asylum seekers arriving from the United Kingdom.

In this regard, Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee estimated that 80 per cent of asylum seekers had arrived in her country by crossing its land border with Northern Ireland, which belongs to the UK.

Both Lebanon and the UK have been reluctant to take back migrants who have arrived in their EU neighbours of late.

The Cypriot interior ministry saying earlier in April that Lebanon was “no longer accepting returns” from Cyprus, while Sunak had told British television channel ITV that he is “not interested” in accepting the return of asylum seekers who enter the EU from his country.

Flows towards Cyprus seem to have been somewhat stemmed by the promise of assistance from the European Commission for Lebanon and the placement of Cypriot police boats off Lebanon’s coast, though such measures may not be so feasible for Ireland.

Ireland’s intricacies and history mean that its land border with the UK, an external border of the EU, is unmanned and must remain that way.

In addition, Ireland’s High Court ruled in March that the UK should no longer be designated as a “safe country” for returning asylum seekers given the British government’s plans to arbitrarily deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Irish refugee council chief executive Nick Henderson had told Irish public broadcaster RTE that the UK had “in effect gone rogue” regarding its refugee laws.

However, on Tuesday, Helen McEntee took emergency legislation to the Irish cabinet in an attempt to overturn the ruling and have the UK once again designated as a safe country.

She said she hopes to have the law enacted “within weeks”. Despite this, the likelihood of Ireland being able to return asylum seekers to the UK may be limited by the UK itself, with Sunak saying “of course we are not going to” accept the migrants’ returns.

Ireland’s troubles over its designation of the UK as a safe country to return migrants also runs in parallel to those of Cyprus regarding Syria.

The Cypriot government has been steadfast in its belief that Syria is now a safe country to which migrants can be returned, with the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) claiming that “around ten” EU member states now support the idea.

Those include Denmark, the Czech Republic, Greece, and Austria, with Cyprus’ claim being based on indications made regarding the provinces of Damascus and Tartus by the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA).