The challenges arising from the refugee and migrant crisis need to be tackled collectively by member states, Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides said on Tuesday, adding at the same that Cyprus is under stress due to the refugee crisis.
Addressing an event of the Monitoring Committees of the EU Home Affairs Funds 2014 – 2020, in Nicosia, Petrides noted that Cyprus has always been a host country for refugees. Lately there is a steady and increasing trend of irregular migrant flows, with Cyprus ranking first in arrivals among EU member states, in relation to the its population.
He added that during the first eight months of 2018, applications for international protection status were up by 55% in relation to the same period in 2017.
According to the Minister, during this period a total of 4,022 applications were filed in the Republic of Cyprus, compared to 2,600 petitions in the first 8 months of 2017, after recording an increase of 56% in 2016.
Increased flows also mean increased challenges which the country is called to tackle, the Minister said, adding that so far we have managed in the best possible way.
He assured those present that the government works tirelessly to meet its obligations and to support EU policies. He noted the disproportionate pressure, Cyprus’ small size, the demographics, and the country’s vicinity to a volatile region among the factors which call for vigilance.
The Ministry of Interior, he went on, tries to cover a significant part of financial obligations from European funds, which are being monitored by the Ministry’s European Funds Unit.
In the 2014-2020 period, two national programs are being implemented with European funding from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund. The Minister assured finally that every effort is being made in order to absorb EU funds and achieve substantial results.
(Cyprus News Agency)