Cyprus on Thursday signed an agreement securing €13 million in funding for upgrade works at the Pournara reception centre for asylum seekers.

The funding will come from the International Organisation for Migration, part of the United Nations.

The deal was signed by Interior Minister Nicos Nouris in Brussels, on the sidelines of the European Council summit there.

In a statement later, Nouris said:

“Today I had the opportunity to sign an excellent agreement with the International Organisation for Migration for the provision of assistance, worth €13 million, for the renovation and upgrade of the first phase at the Pournara centre, which among others involves boosting the fencing and, of course, improving the living conditions of people there.”

The minister said the upgrade project would be completed in six months’ time – by autumn.

While in Brussels, Nouris also met with the Ylva Johansson, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, as well as with other EU officials.

“We discussed the possibility of the provision of additional aid for managing the Ukrainian refugees in our country,” the minister said.

He added that “clear-cut indications have been given concerning the request of this specific assistance needed by Cyprus so that it can cope with the stresses it is under, in hosting the almost 18,000 Ukrainian nationals living in Cyprus.”

According to Nouris, during the European Council President Nicos Anastasiades would be pitching a proposal for a migration management plan for the eastern Mediterranean.

“I am confident that tonight [Thursday evening] the European Council will adopt this Cypriot proposal.”