President Nikos Christodoulides of Cyprus stated that he will visit Lebanon with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on May 2 to announce an initiative for a larger financial package from the EU to deal with Lebanon’s refugee crisis. He emphasized the need for both sides to uphold their commitments for the initiative to succeed.

President Christodoulides also announced in an interview with the German network Al-Tahrir on Sunday his dissatisfaction with the European Union’s commitments in the Middle East. He stressed the need for a better leadership and geopolitical role, emphasizing that the crisis in the Middle East has consequences for European security through the illegal migration that raises concerns. He called for tangible measures as the number of ships carrying Syrian migrants from Lebanon to Cyprus has increased.

He clarified that Cyprus cannot afford to accept more refugees and has reached its maximum capacity, hence the request for EU assistance. He suspended the processing of asylum applications from Syrians until further notice, emphasizing the need to protect the country’s interests.

Regarding the agreement, he explained that its goal is not only to assist Lebanon but also to demonstrate EU support and to halt excessive migration to the island. He noted that even if recognized as political refugees in Nicosia, they would not be able to move to another EU country.

He also pointed out that certain areas in Syria are now safe, calling for their classification as safe zones. Last month, the Cypriot Interior Minister visited countries like Denmark, the Czech Republic, and Greece to promote such initiatives within the EU.

It’s worth mentioning that in March, the EU signed a partnership agreement with Egypt worth €7.4 billion, similar to agreements signed with Tunisia and Mauritania, aimed at curbing irregular migration to Europe in exchange for financial resources from the EU.