EU nations: Migrant departures should be stopped abroad

Oct 7, 2022, 7:06 PM | Updated: Oct 8, 2022, 7:07 am

PAPHOS, Cyprus (AP) — Several Mediterranean nations said Saturday the European Union’s border agency Frontex needs to work inside third countries to stop smugglers from endangering the lives of migrants by sending them off to Europe on risky boat trips.

Top officials from Spain, Greece, Italy, Malta and Cyprus — who receive most migrant arrivals from the bloc’s southern and southeastern borders — said they’ll float the idea to EU leaders later this month to set up asylum application centers in neighboring countries from which successful applicants can safely reach Europe.

Such centers would help diminish the allure of smugglers, allowing people with legitimate fears for their safety in their home countries to safely travel to European countries which have accepted their asylum claims.

“We have lost so much time making statements and engage an endless finger pointing. Meanwhile, children and adults continue to lose their lives while we ignore the elephant in the room,” Maltese Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri said. “How long is it going to take us Europeans to admit that the only way to save lives is to eradicate people smuggling once and for all?”

Greece’s Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi said Frontex needs more resources because “when borders are well protected and well monitored, the loss of life diminishes substantially.”

Mitarachi’s remarks came after back-to-back shipwrecks off the Greek islands of Lesbos and Kythira this week left at least 23 people dead. The Greek minister again urged EU authorities to demand that Turkey better control its borders and take stronger actions against people traffickers.

Spain’s Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gomez said Frontex must work with authorities in third countries to prevent departures of migrant-laden boats.

Cypriot Interior Minister Nicos Nouris expressed concerns of an uptick in economic migrant arrivals amid growing economic hardship abroad and Russia’s war in Ukraine. He said “it’s about time” that third countries that don’t accept back citizens who had asylum applications rejected should face sanctions.

“It’s it’s totally unacceptable for us for a country to refuse the return of their own citizens back,” Nouris said.

Cypriot Interior Ministry figures show that of the 27,000 migrants who reached ethnically split Cyprus in the last two years, 6% arrived by boat while 94% crossed a U.N.-controlled buffer zone from the breakaway northern third.

Nouris last week travelled to U.N. headquarters in New York last week to seek help from the world body to prevent such crossings.

The ministers again urged the EU to adopt a fairer migrant relocation policy so that the burden doesn’t fall mostly on southern EU countries.

“We need to send a strong message that Europe will be open. Europe will always have the values that identify us and provide safe haven for people in need,” Mitarachi said. “But we have to do it in an organized, coordinated and legal way and not allow … the smugglers to make that choice for us.”


Follow all AP stories on global migration at

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

UN makes record aid appeal amid disasters, Ukraine war

BERLIN (AP) — The United Nations said Thursday that it is asking member states for a record $51.5 billion in aid funding for next year, as disasters and the ongoing war in Ukraine drive up humanitarian needs worldwide. The global body’s humanitarian office said the funds are needed to help 339 million people in 69 […]
1 day ago
This aerial image courtesy of Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources shows lava flows on Mauna ...
Associated Press

Prayers? Bombs? Hawaii history shows stopping lava not easy

HONOLULU (AP) — Prayer. Bombs. Walls. Over the decades, people have tried all of them to stanch the flow of lava from Hawaii’s volcanoes as it lumbered toward roads, homes and infrastructure. Now Mauna Loa — the world’s largest active volcano — is erupting again, and lava is slowly approaching a major thoroughfare connecting the […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Switzerland says it knows of $48.5 billion in Russian assets

BERLIN (AP) — Swiss authorities said Thursday that they have been notified of 46.1 billion francs ($48.5 billion) in assets held by Russian nationals and entities in the Alpine country since sanctions were introduced earlier this year. Switzerland, which isn’t a European Union member but has close relations with the 27-member bloc, applied EU sanctions […]
1 day ago
Britain's Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, watch the NBA basketball game between the Bos...
Associated Press

Racism row erupts as William and Kate visit Boston

LONDON (AP) — Prince William’s office said “racism has no place in our society” as he sought to prevent the backlash over his godmother’s treatment of a Black advocate for survivors of domestic abuse from overshadowing his trip to the United States. Lady Susan Hussey, 83, resigned Wednesday as an honorary member of the royal […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Rossi ousts billionaire Lisin to head Olympic shooting body

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — Italian official Luciano Rossi has beaten incumbent president and Russian billionaire Vladimir Lisin to become the new head of the governing body for Olympic shooting. Rossi beat Lisin to become president of the International Shooting Sport Federation on Wednesday in an unusually close and combative election for an Olympic federation. […]
1 day ago
Police officers stand guard as other officers in yellow vests walk back at the cordoned off area ne...
Associated Press

Spain: 2 new letter bombs detected after Ukraine blast

MADRID (AP) — Spanish police are investigating a suspect letter bomb sent to an air base outside Madrid early Thursday, a day after a letter bomb exploded at the Ukrainian Embassy injuring an employee, the interior and defense ministries said. Government officials said another explosive package was detected Wednesday evening at an arms factory in […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSPA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
EU nations: Migrant departures should be stopped abroad