Cyprus is “forced” to adopt drastic measures to curb illegal migration through the Green Line, from where some 800 irregular migrants crossed to the government-controlled areas in the last 10 days alone, according to Interior Minister Nicos Nouris.
In his speech at the Conference of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) late on Thursday, the minister said his presence “proves our willingness…to reach a single European agreement on asylum”.
Referring to the current situation on migration flows in the country, Nouris said “as long as the discussions on the asylum agreement continue, we are forced to take important and drastic measures on the green line as well.”
The minister said that in the last ten days, 800 irregular migrants have crossed from the north, “which proves the problem in our country”.
His statements preceded a discussion on the common European asylum system and the role of EASO in the last 10 years in the changing geopolitical context.
Nouris explained that the country is also seeking assistance in terms of migrant returns, as “at least 15,000 third-country nationals” currently in Cyprus can be returned to their country of origin after their asylum applications were deemed to be “unfounded”.
Despite the island not having land borders, Nouris demanded “the implementation of the same security measures that apply in most European countries,” as the Green Line has proved to be the way for the illegal entry of migrants.
Nouris also stressed the willingness of MED5 countries on the front line of mass migration to reach an agreement on a new migration and asylum pact provided it is balanced and based on the principles of solidarity and equal distribution of flows.
At the same time, the minister called for the promotion of specific measures that MED5 have proposed to alleviate the problem.
Apart from Cyprus, the other members of the group are Italy, Spain, Malta and Greece.
On Friday, the minister will meet his counterparts as well as representatives of European organisations to discuss ways to implement the positions supported by the majority of Member States in Luxembourg, with particular reference to control and security issues.
Nouris is expected to return to Cyprus on Friday night.
EASO has been active in Cyprus since 2014 and supports the European Union’s actions towards a common European asylum system.
According to their official website, EASO’s aim is “to ensure that individual asylum cases are dealt with in a coherent way by all Member States.”