CNA News

Immigration discussed by EU Southern states upon initiative of Cyprus House President

The immigration issue was discussed at the first joint meeting of the Presidents/Vice Presidents of the Parliaments of the EU member states of the South (Cyprus, Greece, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Malta) with the participation of the European Parliament following an initiative by President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus Annita Demetriou.

A press release by the House of Representatives says that the first joint meeting of the Presidents/Vice-Presidents of the Parliaments of the EU Southern member countries took place within the framework of the Conference of the Presidents of the Parliaments of the EU member countries in Palma de Mallorca, on April 23, 2024, at the initiative of Demetriou with the participation of the European Parliament.

During the meeting, it adds, a draft Joint Declaration was discussed, submitted by the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus in relation to the external dimension of the European immigration policy, as part of a common approach for an effective management of asylum and of immigration.

The Joint Declaration states that in recent years, the Southern EU Member States have received and continue to receive disproportionate and unsustainable migration flows.

Furthermore, they note that a large number of irregular migrants and asylum seekers, mainly Syrians from Lebanon, were recorded in Cyprus from the beginning of 2024, and that, as a result of the escalating tension in the Middle East and the general geopolitical developments in the region, the unbearable migratory and/or refugee flows are expected to continue and worsen, undoubtedly putting Cyprus’ reception and hospitality infrastructure under further strain.

The Parliaments of the South call on their governments to take a decisive role in the effective management of these flows in close cooperation with the countries of origin and transit and in this case with Lebanon, taking all the necessary measures to prevent phenomena such as human trafficking and smuggling by organized networks.

They reaffirm their readiness to strengthen cooperation to promote common EU principles and values, including the principle of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility.

They reiterate their unwavering commitment to fulfilling their obligations under international law and the EU acquis and they call on the Commission and the Council to “finally recognize the increased burden on frontline member states and the responsibilities in the sector of migration management”.

The Parliaments of the South call on the EU institutions to immediately undertake all appropriate actions to promote and fully implement the EU Action Plan for the Eastern Mediterranean route.

The Joint Declaration will be forwarded by the Spanish Presidency to the Conference of Presidents of Parliaments for signature.