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Cyprus says migration burden too heavy

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Cyprus cannot lift the growing migration burden as asylum applications exceed 11,000, said Interior Minister Nicos Nouris, who has asked for emergency help from Brussels.

Cyprus has received more than 11,000 asylum applications in the first five months of 2022, putting it on the EU’s frontline of a new migration wave in the Mediterranean.

It is among five frontline EU member states, with Greece, Italy, Spain, and Malta estimated to receive 150,000 asylum seekers.

The so-called MED5 have asked for more practical assistance from Brussels.

“Asylum seekers have reached 5% of our population, which is an excessive burden we cannot carry on our own.

“The Republic of Cyprus’ weight is not the same as that of the EU in terms of readmission agreements with other countries,” Nouris said.

He argued the MED5 Ministerial Summit has highlighted the need for a unified European migration and asylum policy to tackle “the huge migration problem.”

Nouris said he is cautious over the French EU Presidency’s “voluntary solidarity” proposal.

The French presidency has said that 10,000 migrants could be relocated within the EU this year.

He asked what would happen to the other 140,000 expected to arrive in the five frontline EU Med states.

Nouris called for “political solidarity and asylum seeker relocation among the EU member-states” and argued the EU should proceed with readmission agreements with non-EU countries.