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244 per cent rise in irregular migrant arrivals

comment alper asylum seekers outside pournara camp earlier this week (christos theodorides)
Asylum seekers outside Pournara camp (Christos Theodorides)

Irregular migrant arrivals to Cyprus surged 244 per cent in November compared to the same month last year, Frontex, the EU’s border control agency said on Wednesday.

Highlighting the influx, Cyprus accounted for 70 per cent of total arrivals within the Eastern Mediterranean route while arrivals to Greece decreased by 13 per cent.

The EU agency stated that “most migrants on this route came from Syria, Turkey and Congo (Kinshasa)”.

It was further stated that between January and November, there were 18,764 illegal border crossings along the Eastern Mediterranean route, in line with the same trend last year (down three per cent).

“This was a drop of 75 per cent compared with the same period in 2019,” the agency said.

In November, however, there were 2,965 irregular border crossings on the Eastern Mediterranean route in general, an increase of 87 per cent compared with November 2020, translating into a 244 per cent increase specifically for Cyprus.

The latest figures from Frontex come as President Nicos Anastasiades is set to attend the Eastern Partnership summit and the EU Summit in Brussels, where the topic of migration is set to feature prominently.

The government has been putting pressure on the EU to offer greater assistance to the Republic. In November, it wrote to the EU Commission as it sought permission to suspend asylum applications from those entering the country illegally, the vast majority of them via the north.

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