Southern EU Summit: Deliberations over the Cyprus question and international migration

The fifth Southern European Union Summit (SEUS) closed its proceedings on Tuesday. The summit was attended by the seven leaders of Mediterranean EU states. Delegates from Cyprus, Greece, France, Italy, Malta, Spain and Portugal convened to discuss important security and cooperation issues in the Mediterranean periphery. In the closing ceremony hosted in Nicosia, Cyprus, the Joint Declaration delivered a message to Ankara stating that Turkey must respect international legal statutes and progressively normalise its relations with the Republic of Cyprus. Indicative measures would be to lift trade restrictions on Cyprus ports and airspace as well as permit business ventures taking place between Turkish and Cypriot companies.

The Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiadis reiterated its unwavering belief in the diplomatic settlement of the island dispute, supporting the resumption of deliberations with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) to find a mutually beneficial final status solution. Besides the Cyprus issue, the summit also focused its agenda on the problem of international migration, particularly the treatment of undocumented people salvaged from capsized vessels in the Mediterranean Sea. The U.N. Agency for Migration (IOM) presented statistical evidence in the summit denoting the entry of more than 5.000 people into Europe’s naval borders during the first 25 days of January 2019. These scores signify a 5% increase in the actual number of people reaching Europe’s coastal boundaries through the Mediterranean waterways.

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