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EU condemns use of migration as pressure tool

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The European Council, in its conclusions, has called on Turkey to not discriminate against Cyprus in implementing the 2016 agreement with the European Union to control migratory flows.

The Council called out Belarus on its “hybrid attack” on other member states by trying to encourage migrants to move into them, but, in condemning such practices in general, also sent an indirect signal to Turkey, which tried the same tactic in early 2020.

The latest session of EU members’ leaders ended Friday evening.

Its conclusions on migration were as follows:

15. Following the European Council conclusions of 24 and 25 June 2021, and in order to prevent loss of life and to reduce pressure on European borders in accordance with EU and international law, eight action plans for countries of origin and transit have been presented. The Commission and the High Representative, together with Member States as appropriate, should now make those plans operational and implement them without delay, in cooperation with partner countries. The European Council expects the action plans to be underpinned by concrete timelines and adequate financial support; it reiterates its request to the Commission to report to the Council on its intentions in this respect.

16. The European Council calls on the Commission to urgently present proposals and mobilise financing for actions on all migratory routes in line with the EU’s increased ambition, and to report regularly to the Council in this regard. The best possible use should be made of at least 10% of the NDICI financial envelope, as well as funding under other relevant instruments, for actions related to migration.

17. In line with its March 2021 statement and its June 2021 conclusions, the European Council reiterates its expectation that the financing for Syrian refugees and host communities in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and other parts of the region, including Egypt, under relevant instruments will be mobilised in a timely manner.

18. The European Council calls on Turkey to ensure the full and non-discriminatory implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement of 2016, including vis-à-vis the Republic of Cyprus.

19. The European Council will not accept any attempt by third countries to instrumentalise migrants for political purposes. It condemns all hybrid attacks at the EU’s borders and will respond accordingly.

20. The European Council invites the Commission to propose any necessary changes to the EU’s legal framework and concrete measures underpinned by adequate financial support to ensure an immediate and appropriate response in line with EU law and international obligations, including the fundamental rights.

21. The EU will continue countering the ongoing hybrid attack launched by the Belarusian regime, including by adopting further restrictive measures against persons and legal entities, in line with its gradual approach, as a matter of urgency.

22. The European Council recalls the need to ensure effective returns and full implementation of readmission agreements and arrangements, using the necessary leverage.

23. The EU remains determined to ensure effective control of its external borders.

24. Efforts should be sustained to reduce secondary movements, and to ensure a fair balance between responsibility and solidarity among Member States.