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Cyprus reviewed record asylum requests

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In the first quarter, Cyprus issued 3,470 decisions on political asylum applications, a record number since EU records began in 2008, said executive director of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), Nina Gregori.

Gregori is in Cyprus to discuss the problems of increased migrant flows with Interior Minister Nicos Nouris.

She thanked the Minister and his team for the “excellent cooperation” with EASO.

“We will be able to continue to deploy personnel to support Cyprus and be better equipped to address the needs of the country, including through training and practical tools and guidance.

“It is clear that there is a genuine willingness from the Ministry’s side to work in partnership with EASO to be better able to manage the pressures caused by increased arrival and applications in line with EU standards.”

The EASO is helping Cyprus make its asylum system more efficient to reach decisions quicker, but still ensuring the procedure is fully in line with EU standards.

“This also allows for the quicker identification of those who do not merit international protection, who are then subject to being returned to their country of origin”.

The EASO has deployed 157 personnel to Cyprus, who implemented 7,502 workdays to support the Cypriot Asylum and Reception authorities, up 65% compared to the same period in 2020.

Between January and the end of May 2021, EASO carried out 1,493 out of 3,980 registrations in Cyprus (almost 40%).

“It is worth noting that in Q1 2021, Cyprus issued (by far) the most first instance decisions since current EU records began being kept (2008), with 3,470 decisions.

“This is, of course, both a reflection of the increased arrivals in the country – but importantly also a reflection of a more efficient asylum System,” Gregori said.

“We also stand ready to further strengthen the Cypriot authorities with additional workflows and procedures including reception training and coaching for the staff, especially in view of the new safe zone in Pournara.”

Nouris said that the discussions found common ground for the continuation and reinforcement of the support EASO is providing to Cyprus since 2014.

The Minister said they had the opportunity to discuss the current situation in Cyprus and disproportionate pressures and flows, especially from Turkey and via the occupied areas and the Green Line.

“This is why the EASO support is very important for us. EASO has expanded and will expand further its technical and operational assistance.”