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Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria Urge EU to Help in Growing Migration Crisis

Greece, Cyprus, and Bulgaria, the three EU member states closest to Turkey, are expected demand a response regarding the ongoing migration crisis at the EU summit of ministers of justice and home affairs on Tuesday.

Athens, Nicosia, and Sofia decided to take the issue to the EU, asking for a more united European response, despite the unilateral declaration of individual central and northern member states that they are not willing to take a share of migrants and refugees into their countries.

The three southeastern EU nations claim that the EU as a whole has not paid the necessary attention to the Eastern Mediterranean migration route, as it has only focused on Central and Western Mediterranean routes which primarily affect Spain, Malta, and Italy.

For this reason, they are asking for a more efficient mechanism for refugee and migrant relocations to the rest of the EU as well as assistance in surveilling the EU’s external sea and land borders.

The three main migration routes to the EU end in Spain, Italy, Malta, Greece, and Cyprus, but Bulgaria also suffers from migrants streaming over its land border with Turkey as well as the Black Sea. Map: UNHCR

Officials from Athens, Nicosia, and Sofia will present current data, which illustrate just how serious the migration problem has become along the Eastern Mediterranean front.

According to these statistics, 736 refugees and migrants arrived in the EU via the Western Mediterranean route, from Africa to Spain, and 480 arrived via the Central Mediterranean route, from Africa to Malta and Italy, during just the first week of September, 2019.

However, during that same period, a total of 2,707 migrants arrived via the Eastern Mediterranean route, which stretches from Africa and Asia to Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria.

This already-untenable situation along the Eastern route is expected to become even worse in terms of migrant arrivals after the recent decision by the US to allow Turkey to move its forces into northern Syria, as more people are expected to flee, searching for a safe haven on the EU’s shores.

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