Austrian Chancellor in Cyprus: "EU Asylum System has Failed"

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: July 14, 2022; 11:19 ♦ (Vindobona)

After his stay in Israel, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer visited the island of Cyprus where he spoke with Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiadis about the issue of illegal immigration. Also on the agenda were topics such as food security and a visit to the UNFICYP peacekeeping force.

Karl Nehammer and Nikos Anastasiadis spoke about illegal migration at their meeting. / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Florian Schrötter

After his stay in Israel, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer visited the island of Cyprus. He met with Cyprus' President Nikos Anastasiadis in Nicosia to discuss possible solutions to the issue of illegal migration.

"Cyprus, like Austria, is particularly affected by illegal migration. The EU asylum system has failed. We need to better protect our external borders and fight trafficking," Nehammer said in a statement.

Other topics discussed at the bilateral meeting included energy supply issues as a result of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine and the unresolved issue of the division of Cyprus. Chancellor Nehammer again stressed the need to establish "green corridors" to ensure grain supplies from Ukraine to countries from which further waves of emigration are threatening due to famine crises.

The Chancellor was accompanied by Austria's Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner. The two also stopped at the Koshi UN Memorial in Larnaca, where they laid a wreath.

In doing so, they commemorated three Austrian UNFICYP peacekeepers who died in a Turkish air attack in 1974. The Federal Chancellor and the Defence Minister then visited the UNFICYP peacekeeping force, where they learned about the challenges and tasks of this force consisting of more than a dozen nationalities.

Austria has participated in the international peacekeeping mission in Cyprus since 1964. The country has been divided since 1974 after a Greek coup and a Turkish military intervention.

The peacekeeping force UNFICYP is supposed to ensure that there are no violent confrontations between the Greek and Turkish communities. Austria ended its participation in 2001, but is still represented on the ground by 3 staff officers and 2 civilian staff.

The northern part of the island is only recognised as a state by Turkey. Cyprus has been part of the EU since 2004, but its rules only apply in the Greek southern part. All negotiations to overcome the division have failed so far.

Nehammer emphasised: "Our two countries have enjoyed good bilateral relations for 60 years. We are clearly committed to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Cyprus, especially in the maritime areas."

On Thursday, at the end of the trip to the region, Nehammer and Tanner will travel to Lebanon and pay a visit to the Austrian contingent at the UNIFIL peacekeeping force on the border with Israel. A meeting with the Lebanese President, Michel Aoun, is also planned.

Federal Chancellery of Austria