Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria have decided to undertake a joint initiative for tackling migration in the Eastern Mediterranean, which they will present at the European Union's Justice and Home Affairs Council on October 7-8 in Luxembourg.
According to a statement by the Citizen Protection Ministry, it is the first joint initiative of the front-line member-states in the Eastern Mediterranean. According to European External Action Service data, between August 19 and September 1, there were 4,879 arrivals of migrants and refugees via the eastern Mediterranean route, 1,133 arrivals via the Western Mediterranean route and 1,369 arrivals via the central Mediterranean route.
The three countries' initiative is entitled "Eastern Mediterranean Migration Route Initiative" and will be formally presented with specific documents to the EU justice and interior ministers attending next week's council. It follows the visits of Alternate Citizen Protection Minister George Koumoutsakos to Cyprus and Bulgaria.
The three countries encourage the EU and the other EU member-states to agree to the allocation of more resources to the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean and commit more funds to tackling refugee and migrantion flows in the 2021-2026 EU budget. The aim of the initiative is also to highlight the European dimension of the great migration challenge faced by Eastern Mediterranean states, so that the EU can take concrete measures in the context of Community solidarity.
This should include relocations and a strong policy for returns to third countries, as well as supporting the countries directly affected. The three countries also advocate effective implementation of the EU-Turkey Joint Statement by eradicating migrant trafficking networks, preventing the establishment of new illegal migration routes across Europe and ensuring effective returns.