Cyprus is in a state of crisis and wants action to curb irregular migration to the divided island including a suspension of asylum applications for persons entering illegally from the breakaway Turkish-held north.
This is what government spokesman Marios Pelekanos said after a crucial meeting on Wednesday chaired by President Nicos Anastasiades.
Of 10,868 arrivals in the first 10 months of 2021, more than 9,000 had arrived through the porous “green line” – the legacy of a 1974 Turkish invasion and continued occupation.
The government emergency action plan to be implemented focuses on stricter supervisory controls and EU solidarity for the relocation of migrants to other countries.
Urgent economic assistance in a bid to handle the situation is also in the cards – just like in the case of Lithuania and Poland.
Cyprus has been inundated with arrivals in recent years. So far this year, inflows are 38 percent up on the whole of 2020.
The government has already taken an increasingly hard line on asylum seekers whose number exceeds 4% of the local population.
Cyprus will put in a request to the European Commission for measures to be taken, including potentially suspending the examination of asylum requests from those entering the island illegally, Pelekanos said.
Under international law, migrants have a right to claim asylum and it is forbidden to send potential asylum-seekers back to where they may be in danger.