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Asylum seekers account to 5 per cent of Cyprus’ population

cypriot interior minister ioannou speaks during an interview with reuters at his office in nicosia
Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou

Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou has highlighted the mounting pressures Cyprus has faced in recent years due to increased migrant and refugee flows.

Speaking at the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, Ioannou explained that Cyprus, in proportion to its population, stands as the EU member state with the highest number of new applications for international protection.

He specifically mentioned that the percentage of new asylum seekers and individuals granted protection status in Cyprus amounts to 5 per cent of the population, while the EU average is 1.5 per cent.

“This surge in asylum applications places significant strain on the country’s infrastructure and reception system,” Ioannou said.

“Despite the heightened pressures, the efficient management of refugee inflows remains a top priority on the government’s agenda. Cyprus remains committed to fulfilling its obligations to support and assist arriving refugees.

“The country has prioritised the upgrade of existing facilities and has taken steps to improve and expand migrant reception structures while creating new ones.”

Regarding the necessity of promoting actions for the integration of international protection applicants, the Interior Minister referenced the ongoing development of a new intercultural integration strategy.

“This strategy takes into account the current situation in the country, arrival numbers, and the country’s capacity to respond,” Ioannou said.

Regarding the increased arrival of Ukrainian nationals following the start of the war, Ioannou stressed that Cyprus has offered them educational and training programmes to facilitate their access into the job market and the smooth integration into society.

“These programmes and measures were specifically introduced for Ukrainian nationals and are intended to be expanded in the future to benefit all refugees, contributing to their integration into the Cypriot economy and society.”

In conclusion, Ioannou focused once again on the need for closer collaboration among all EU member states to better address the refugee issue.

The Global Refugee Forum, which is held every four years, is set to end on Friday.

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