EU supports Cyprus on migration pressure

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The EU will stand with Cyprus under pressure from increased migration flows, European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas pledged.

He argued Turkey would not move outside a framework of incentives and sanctions, either in the Eastern Mediterranean or fenced-off Varosha.

Addressing a group of journalists in Brussels, Schinas said Cyprus is under pressure due to migrant flows from Lebanon and the Green Line.

“We want to help as much as we can.”

President Nicos Anastasiades has urged the European Commission for immediate support to help Cyprus cope with the “emergency situation”.

Schinas replied that conditions in the Pournara reception centre needed improvement.

He said an agreement with Lebanon to enable returns seemed to be working.

“The EU will stand with Cyprus on these matters.”

He said the EU could help Cyprus establish monitoring equipment and provide financial assistance.

“There is no doubt here in Brussels that there are increased needs in Cyprus regarding migration and that the country deserves more assistance.”

He said it was time to proceed with a legal definition of the instrumentalization of migrant flows through a proposal for a revised Schengen Border Code.

He said, however, there is a difference between instrumentalization – which Nicosia accuses Turkey of doing – and facing increased pressure.

On EU-Turkey relations, Schinas said, “there is a sense that we are past the low point reached in the summer last year.”

“A lot of systematic work has been done by EU capitals, EU institutions, Berlin and the Biden administration resulting in a mix of incentives and sanctions.”

“This led to an easing of tensions while making it clear to Turkey that games in the Eastern Mediterranean are not without costs.

“Turkey is particularly reluctant to move outside this framework without risking putting in motion the process of sanctions.” (source CNA)