EU Commissioner Signals Possibility of Migrant Deal with Lebanon, Informs Cyprus

EU Commissioner Signals Possibility of Migrant Deal with Lebanon
Vice-President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas speaks during the tripartite meeting in the residence "Evksinograd" in Varna ,Bulgaria on 09 October 2023.The topic of the tripartite meeting is regional connectivity and more specifically the project for a corridor from Thessaloniki through Kavala, Alexandroupolis, Burgas and Varna to Constanta, with the possibility of extension to Moldova.

EU Commissioner Signals Possibility of Migrant Deal with Lebanon, Informs Cyprus

On March 22, EU Commissioner Margaritis Schinas announced that the European Union (EU) is considering the possibility of striking a deal with Lebanon to address the influx of migrants, amid concerns raised by Cyprus regarding a surge in arrivals from the Middle East.

The EU has previously engaged in agreements with several countries to assist them in managing increased migration flows and preventing potential overflow into the 27 member states of the bloc. However, these pacts have faced criticism from rights groups.

Schinas, who serves as the European Commission’s Vice President for promoting the European way of life, highlighted the potential for a deal with Lebanon, similar to the one recently signed with Egypt on March 17. He emphasized that significant preparation would be necessary for such an agreement to be effective.

During a visit to Cyprus, Schinas expressed confidence in the feasibility of negotiating a corresponding deal with Lebanon, citing the EU’s prior collaboration with Egypt as a model for potential future agreements.

The discussions reflect the EU’s ongoing efforts to address migration challenges and collaborate with countries in the Middle East and North Africa region to manage migratory flows more effectively. As Cyprus grapples with an increase in arrivals, cooperation with neighboring countries such as Lebanon is seen as a potential solution to alleviate the pressure on EU member states.

“Our country is under immense pressure due to the significant influx of Syrians arriving in Cyprus,” stated Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou following his meeting with Schinas. Nicosia is urging the European Union (EU) to assess the possibility of designating certain areas of war-torn Syria as safe, enabling authorities to facilitate the repatriation of individuals arriving from those regions.

According to United Nations data, approximately 34,000 people have entered the EU through irregular channels since the beginning of this year, with the majority crossing the Mediterranean Sea. The escalating arrivals pose challenges for Cyprus and underscore the urgency of finding effective solutions to manage migration flows in the region.


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