Cyprus is facing lately great pressure from migration, said Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, adding at the same time that Nicosia is not alone and that “the European Commission stands at its side.”
He pledged to offer practical, operational and financial assistance to Cyprus and said that EU officials arrive these days on the island, in an effort to tackle the problem in a speedy manner.
Speaking after a meeting in Nicosia, with the participation of Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides and Justice and Public Order Minister Ionas Nicolaou, Avramopoulos noted that the period that is available in order to respond to Cyprus’ just requests on matters of security and migration, is quite short, pointing to the European elections ahead.
The Minister of Interior thanked Avramopoulos for his second visit to Cyprus, in order to discuss migration flows, noting however that the situation has been more worrisome since the last time. According to Petrides, flows are increasing, with applications exceeding 1,000 per month since the beginning of 2019.
Petrides thanked Avramopoulos for the assistance offered to Cyprus and for his understanding and said that he asked for more technical and financial assistance from the European Commission to tackle some issues.
He said that most migrants enter the Republic of Cyprus from the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.
“It seems that there is a need to build another Reception Center” the Minister also noted.
He said moreover that Cyprus’ authorities need access to information systems for state security purposes and in order to avert potential dangers from radicalization.
On his part, Avramopoulos said that he expected to receive in writing all issues he discussed at the meeting with the Ministers, both on internal security and with regard to migration flows “in order for Cyprus to be able to tackle them effectively with our contribution.”
The Commissioner also acknowledged the increased migration flows from the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, while noting that flows from Syria continue.
He added that terrorism seems to have been defeated on the ground in Syria, however this does not mean that the country has returned to normalcy.
These days Europol, the European Asylum Support Office and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency are all sending their representatives to Cyprus, said the Commissioner adding that the Executive Director of Frontex and the Director General of DG for Migration are arriving tonight and next week, respectively.
“Me personally, the European Commission and my associates and all organizations under my portfolio are at the service of Cyprus” Avramopoulos noted, acknowledging that “Cyprus is under pressure.”
He expressed his certainty that next time he visits the island, the situation on all issues discussed today will improve, while “Cyprus will be more prepared about the issue the Minister noted, concerning the creation of new control centers, if necessary.”
“Everything needs to proceed quickly because we are pressed for time. We don’t have but a small period ahead of us in order to respond to Cyprus’ just requests and to deal with security and migration issues” he concluded.