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All Cyprus’ requests incorporated into EU migration action plan

file photo: migrants in lampedusa
File photo: migrants in the Mediterranean

All of Cyprus’ requests have been incorporated into the EU action plan on managing migration flows in the eastern Mediterranean, officials said in parliament on Tuesday. 

MPs heard that for the 2021-2027 period Cyprus can tap €254 million in EU funds for migration management. 

Loizos Hadjivasiliou, director of the interior minister’s office, said the EU action plan was approved in October 2023, although its informal implementation had begun as far back as last summer. Among other things, it covers the prevention of departures of migrants from their country of origin, migration flow management, boosting cooperation with countries of origin and transit countries, and effective monitoring of borders. 

Hadjivasiliou stressed the importance of ongoing contacts between the European Commission and Turkey on mitigating the arrival of irregular migrants to the south of the island via the north. He said EU officials have had contacts with Turkish airlines as well as with the CEO of the airport in Istanbul. 

The EU action plan additionally provides for the placement of a Frontex representative in Turkey. Frontex is the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. 

During question time by MPs, officials were asked about the percentage of successful asylum applications. Hadjivasiliou said 4 per cent. 

The same official also referred to the pending construction of a reception centre for asylum seekers in Menoyia, with a capacity for 800 persons. This would assist in deportation and repatriation efforts. 

Currently some 50,000 people are residing illegally in the Republic of Cyprus, MPs heard. 

Geadis Geadi, spokesman for the Elam party, said that “after years of mudslinging against us, everyone now understands the scope of the problem and that Cyprus is in danger.” 

He said the island should stop being an attractive destination for irregular migrants. 

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