The Minister of Interior Constantinos Petrides and the Executive Director of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) Nina Gregori signed Thursday a Hosting Agreement in Nicosia.
The agreement was signed during a meeting held at the Ministry of Interior.
In statements to the Press, Petrides said that Cyprus is the first country among the EU Member States to sign and implement the Agreement.
Under the agreement, EASO will be headquartered in Nicosia while operating offices in other areas as needed.
This is a very important step, said Petrides, which was achieved after consultations between the Ministry of Interior and the EASO, given the increased migration pressures Cyprus faces and the fact that the current Asylum System cannot respond.
According to the Minister of Interior, EASO will provide € 4.5m exclusively to Cyprus under the Agreement signed, increasing the number of EASO experts involved in the registration and management of international protection applicants, from 20 to 40 within 2019 and from 40 to 80 within 2020.
The Agreement will contribute to the introduction of an expeditious procedure for the examination of international protection applications, which will both speed up the examination procedures but will also prevent the abuse of the system.
The agreement provides training for asylum staff and offers prefabricated units for both office use and housing needs.
In her remarks, Gregori welcomed the agreement being reached at such a rapid pace, after much work had been done between the two parties, adding that the European Union can support its member states.
“We share the same goal, that is of course a fast procedure all over Europe. That means that we can reduce the secondary flows. We can, of course, help people in distress, and people who are waiting for a long time in the asylum capacities. Our collaboration will help in many ways”, she said.
She noted that “for us this arrangement is crucial. I am glad that Cyprus really is a running force because in fact we have not efficiently completed any kind of hosting arrangement in any other country. In Europe, Cyprus is really a forerunner”.