Interior Minister Nicos Nouris and the International Organisation for Migration’s Regional Director, Ola Henrikson, discussed ways to enhance and increase financial cooperation between the two parties to return irregular migrants.
During his first visit to Cyprus, Henrikson conveyed IOM’s intention to enhance cooperation with Nicosia, while Nouris said he was looking forward to increased cooperation, particularly for assisted voluntary returns.
After the meeting, Nouris said they discussed “the many problems that Cyprus is facing, and the management of Ukrainian refugees arriving.”
He also stressed the important input of IOM in migration management, especially in assisted voluntary return and reintegration.
Nouris said that during the meeting, he highlighted the particular needs of the Cyprus government in the effort to constrain the arrival of migrants through Turkey and the Green Line.
“We have declared our readiness to increase our cooperation for Cyprus to receive (financial) assistance in tackling this issue.”
Henrikson said there was long-term cooperation between IOM and the government of Cyprus.
He explained his organisation works in the areas of voluntary returns, integration and reception, particularly for unaccompanied minors.
“We are aware of the challenges that Cyprus is facing: there is a high number of arrivals in relation to the population.”
Cyprus argues that 5% of the Republic’s population are asylum seekers – a record level in Europe.
He was also informed about “the implications with the situation in Ukraine”, which also affects Cyprus.
“The IOM mandate is to assist governments in making migration orderly and regular.”
Henrikson said that most of the operations that IOM runs inside other EU member states “are usually funded by EU funds and shared management funds”.
“This is where we are looking at opportunities, but we also very much appreciate the cooperation with the Cypriot government in implementing those programs”.