Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides has made good on his promise to seek help in “practical ways” from his EU counterparts on the migration issue and redistribution of asylees.
According to Cyprus News Agency, Petrides sent a letter to the EU migration commissioner urging all member states to submit their pledges for relocating a total of 5,000 persons currently under protected status in the Republic of Cyprus.
The minister was following through on an earlier undertaking to ask European allies to “significantly alleviate the disproportionate pressures and severe challenges” faced by authorities in Cyprus in managing a “mass influx” of undocumented migrants and refugees who seek asylum in the Republic.
In his letter to Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, as well as his counterparts of the other EU member states, Petrides urged countries to pledge relocating 5,000 persons from Cyprus, on the basis of bilateral agreements, and with priority given to vulnerable persons, citing an administrative overburden to state authorities and social structures of the country.
The minister noted that Cyprus is currently hosting around 9,000 persons who have obtained temporary protected status on the island in the past few years, with a quarter of them being Syrian nationals in need of protection.
Petrides has been making the rounds in European capitals for some time, raising awareness about Cyprus’ population at 850,000 and arguing that the island nation remains the top receiving member state for prima facie asylum applications in proportion to the population for the third consecutive year.
The letter cited Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which states that “policies of the Union… shall be governed by the principle of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility, including its financial implications, between the Member States.”