LUXEMBOURG: Pakistan has expressed readiness to accept its citizens who illegally arrived in the European Union (EU), EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Thursday, Russian news agency Sputnik reported.

After a meeting with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Mogherini told reporters that Pakistan expressed a readiness to cooperate.

"We already have bilateral agreements between EU and Pakistan for return and readmission." she added.

"I found readiness and willingness to cooperate in an operational way to make sure that returns are happening for real, and this is something that we will follow up in the coming weeks," she said.

The EU foreign policy chief emphasised the need for smooth implementation of the agreement.

The EU has been struggling with a massive influx of over 710,000 migrants since the beginning of 2015 as hundreds of thousands of people fleeing conflict-stricken regions are seeking asylum in the bloc.

The EU migration commissioner on Thursday welcomed the departure of first refugees from Greece under a relocation scheme aimed at easing the burden on countries bearing the brunt of Europe’s migrant crisis, but warned that the bloc is going to get tough on migrants who are simply seeking a better life rather than fleeing conflict.

Dimitris Avramopoulos had said on Wednesday that he was set to visit Pakistan soon to discuss plans to send back Pakistani migrants who had made their way to Europe.

The Council of the EU in October had announced the creation of a 'Return Office' within the Frontex framework to facilitate deportation of undocumented immigrants.

Also read: EU warns of tough action against Pakistani migrants



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