Migrant flows through Green Line ‘huge problem’

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Cyprus’ biggest problem is the influx of irregular migrants, reaching 21,000 this year, with 95% entering through the Green Line, said Interior Minister Nicos Nouris.

“Turkey is sending us migrants through the occupied territories; of course, there should be consequences for this action.”

Nouris said that migration has taken on a European and global dimension, and there are discussions in Brussels about the weaponisation of migrants from third countries.

“In our case, the perpetrator is Turkey, and of course, we are very interested in the adoption by the European Parliament of the relevant regulation.

Some countries expressed reservations regarding this regulation, thus preventing it from being submitted to the European Parliament.

“We will continue this effort with the Swedish Presidency and convince the four countries with different opinions.

“This regulation would send a message to those countries, led by Turkey, that they cannot be unaffected when they instrumentalise migration to the detriment of other countries.

“Europe has designated us as the champions, for 2022, in terms of migrant returns.

“We have returned 7,100 migrants, and we are by far the country with the highest number of returns precisely because we have structured a very efficient return system.

“The big problem we face is the inflows, which so far this year amount to 21,000, 95% of whom are coming from the Green Line.”

Nouris said that in 2020 the Ministry of Interior processed about 4,000 asylum applications, and with the implementation of the fast-track procedure from 1 January 2021, 16,500 were processed.

He noted that “everything I hear about the fast-track procedure is far from reality”.

The problem for Europe, he argued, is that there are no return agreements with many third countries.

Regarding border guards, Nouris said the number of applications has exceeded 420 and aims to recruit 300 in the first phase.

“We wish to recruit these border guards within the first months of 2023.”