The Republic of Cyprus will make its case to Brussels and other international fora, both at the political and technocratic level, over migratory pressure and the need for assistance.
The ministers of interior and foreign affairs, Nikos Nouris and Nikos Christodoulides, met on Thursday along with experts from both ministries to discuss and coordinate the Republic’s case in the framework of the discussion on the EU’s new migration pact.
A joint press release by the foreign and interior ministries said Friday that the domestic migration issue is of a gravity and scale of disproportional weight for the front-line island country.
The press release said that the Republic is the EU member state with the highest number of asylum applications in proportion to population for the fourth year running.
The percentage of asylum applicants and beneficiaries of international protection amounts to 4% of the population, a particularly high percentage, given that in all other Member States the percentage is close to 1%, the press release said.
The Republic reiterated its claim that the overwhelming majority of migratory flows originate from Turkey, which it says fails to implement all agreements regarding migration towards Cyprus.
"In fact, Turkey’s stance has led to the creation, rather than prevention, of a new migration route in the eastern Mediterranean, which disproportionally burdens Cyprus, and places enormous strain on the national asylum system,” the press release noted.
The interior and foreign ministries highlighted the urgent need for the European Commission and international organizations to assist the island in finding immediate practical solutions to curb irregular migration and ensure legal returns.
In this framework, the ministers outlined an action plan and agreed on joint actions both at the political and technocratic level, in Brussels and other international fora, to present the extent of the migration crisis faced by Cyprus and to ensure that the it receives the assistance required to effectively address it.
It was agreed that migration will feature prominently in the agenda of contacts of both ministers, who will remain in continuous coordination ahead of the “jumbo” teleconference of EU Ministers of foreign affairs and home affairs that will take place on March 15, as well as ahead of the upcoming discussions on Turkey at EU level.