Eight EU nations call for reevaluation of Syrian refugee policy

The eight countries urged the EU to increase its support for Lebanon to "mitigate the risks of greater flows from Lebanon to the European Union."
Syrian refugees walking down a road in Europe. (Photo: AFP)
Syrian refugees walking down a road in Europe. (Photo: AFP)

ERBIL (Kurdistan24) – The governments of eight European Union member states have agreed on the necessity of reassessing the situation in Syria to facilitate the voluntary return of Syrian refugees to their homeland.

In a joint announcement, officials from Austria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Malta, and Poland confirmed their agreement on a reevaluation aimed at finding "more effective ways of dealing" with Syrian refugees seeking to enter EU countries.

During a summit in the Cypriot capital, Nicosia, the eight nations highlighted significant developments in Syria, despite the absence of full political stability.

This reassessment comes amid a rise in the number of Syrian refugees arriving in Cyprus from Lebanon on unsafe boats, according to the Associated Press.

To address this issue, the European Union has announced an aid package of one billion euros ($1.06 billion) for Lebanon. The funding is intended to bolster border controls and stem the flow of asylum seekers and migrants to Cyprus and Italy.

The eight countries urged the EU to increase its support for Lebanon to "mitigate the risks of greater flows from Lebanon to the European Union."

They also stressed that decisions about who is entitled to cross a member state’s borders should be determined by the respective government, not by criminal networks involved in migrant smuggling and human trafficking.

A Cypriot official clarified that reassessing the situation in Syria does not imply deporting Syrian refugees.

Instead, refugees from areas reclassified as safe would lose their allowances, benefits, and right to work, which is expected to deter others from attempting to come to Cyprus.

While reaffirming their commitment to supporting Syrian refugees in accordance with international law, the eight countries expressed hope that their discussions would prompt a broader debate within the 27-member EU about the process of granting migrants international protection.