Cyprus and Greece are likely to face increased migration activity from Turkey in the period 2023-2024, although a drop was noted in the first months of the year, the EU border agency Frontex has said.

Arrivals to Cyprus and Greece on the eastern Mediterranean route from Turkey fell by 29 per cent in the period of January to July this year, compared to 2022, the European border agency said in its analysis, published on Monday.

These statistics were corroborated by Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou on Tuesday, who added that the total number of asylum seekers arriving in Cyprus in the last six months had decreased by more than 50 per cent.

He said that around 5,000 voluntary returns from Cyprus to migrants’ countries of origins have been made so far this year, while around 4,000 irregular migrants have arrived in Cyprus in that time.

In addition, he said there are currently around 30,000 asylum applications pending consideration, and that the time required for an application to be processed has been cut from nine to three months.

However, developments on the ground in a number of countries of origin and transit, driven by global macroeconomic factors, including persistent inflation and recession, will negatively impact the socioeconomic conditions of large populations and herald an increase in migration flows to Europe in 2023-2024, Frontex predicted.

Last month, the EU border agency reported that the central Mediterranean route, from north Africa to Italy, remained the most active route in 2023.

In the first seven months of the year, from January to July, over 89,000 detections by national authorities were made in the central Mediterrranean – a rise of 115 per cent over the same period in 2022.

This was the highest total on this route for the period since 2017.