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Cyprus, Austria common strategy on migrants

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Cyprus and Austria will submit specific proposals next week on issues of cooperation with third countries on migrant returns and voluntary relocation, said Interior Minister Nicos Nouris.

He was speaking after a meeting in Vienna with his counterpart Gerhard Karner.

During their meeting, the two reviewed the current migrant issue, as both countries are among the top European Union states that receive asylum seekers.

They also agreed on a series of issues and initiatives.

Nouris also said they discussed common-interest issues ahead of the forthcoming informal EU Interior Ministers’ Council meeting in Stockholm.

These include the pending issues since the New European Pact on migration and asylum.

Nouris said they emphasised the need for significant interventions by the European Commission, and next week, they will submit specific suggestions on how to cooperate with third countries on migrant returns and voluntary relocation.

Additionally, they agreed on cooperation between Cyprus and Austria on the interoperability of security systems for external borders and entry criteria, which will be pursued in the coming weeks.

Nicosia claims that asylum-seekers comprise an EU high of 6% of the island’s 915,000 population in the Republic – a record figure across the bloc.

Last year, over 7,000 migrants who had their asylum applications rejected have either been deported or voluntarily repatriated.