Cyprus asked the European Union for more help to deal with the new wave of migrant arrivals.In the past four days, more than 140 migrants reached the bloc’s easternmost state and Nicosia claims that proportionally, the island is facing one of the most serious problems of migratory flows compared with other member states. If the trend continues, the numbers might soon get out of control. In 2018, Cyprus has seen 5,000 asylum claims pro-rated per million population.
Cyprus had received 4,022 asylum requests in the first eight months of 2018, which was 55% more than for the same period last year, said Cypriot Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides.“There will be a round of contacts with our European counterparts, especially from Mediterranean countries, facing the same problem, so there is better coordination of actions at European level where we demand European solidarity” commented Mr.Petrides. He added that EU immigration policy should not put a “disproportionate burden” on small EU countries like Cyprus “that cannot develop structures… to absorb these flows”.
The Cypriot leader also reminded that migration was a European issue and no country should be handling it by itself. Solidarity should be translated not only in financial resources, he says, but automatic repatriation mechanism should also be included. “There will be use of technology, like cameras, but also frequent sea patrols,” he said.Nicosia is also trying to strike a repatriation deal with Lebanon as the country had seen migrant flows from there. Moreover, Cyprus is also planning to step up sea patrols, enforce repatriation agreements and speed up the asylum application process.