In 2019, Switzerland designated Cyprus, Italy and Greece as the three countries it would partner with on the Migration Framework Credit, which forms part of Switzerland's second contribution to selected EU member states. In 2021, Switzerland and Cyprus formally expressed their shared interest in intensifying their cooperation in this area. Negotiations were concluded in July of this year, and the Federal Council approved the agreement on 23 September. The agreement with Greece was signed on 14 October, while talks on the agreement with Italy are currently in progress.
Strengthening bilateral exchange
Cyprus will receive CHF 10 million for projects and programmes run by the Cypriot authorities and organisations working on migration issues. Implementation is to focus on two of the framework credit's main topics, asylum infrastructure and voluntary return and reintegration.
Cooperation related to the second Swiss contribution is intended to strengthen the structures of those EU member states that are subject to serious migratory pressure. It will focus on those areas where partner countries have proven needs and Switzerland can add value by providing its expertise and experience. Swiss experts can be consulted on operational aspects of the cooperation. The support measures are to start in 2023 and be implemented by the end of 2026.
This cooperation reaffirms Switzerland's commitment to solidarity with EU member states facing particular migratory pressure, such as Greece and Cyprus. These countries take on important tasks in registering and providing accommodation for migrants. Switzerland's support is therefore in the interests of all European countries.
The working visit of the Cypriot Minister of Interior Nicos Nouris also provided an opportunity to discuss current challenges in the field of migration. Particular attention was given to the increased migratory pressure Cyprus is under from Turkey and the Middle East. Members of the Cypriot delegation used the working visit to exchange views with experts from the State Secretariat for Migration on the Swiss asylum system and the work being done on return migration.