The returns of asylum seekers exceed 4,300 this year, says Interior Minister
Returns of asylum seekers so far in 2023 have exceeded 4,370 and are significantly higher compared to last year, when they were 2,353, the Minister of Internal Affairs Constantinos Ioannou has said.
The Minister was speaking during a meeting with Nina Gregory, Executive Director of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), and Beate Gminder, Deputy Director-General for Migration and Internal Affairs of the European Commission where they discussed asylum and migration issues at the Ministry of Interior, an announcement issued by the Ministry says.
During the meeting, the Minister provided updates on the current situation regarding migration, while the discussion included funding from the European Commission, strengthening cooperation, as well as a review of the Operational Plan signed between the Republic of Cyprus and the European Asylum Support Office.
During the meeting, the Minister expressed gratitude to the European Commission and the European Agency, two of Cyprus’ most valuable partners, as he stated, for their efforts in managing migratory flows. He also said that the current situation presents a better image compared to last year.
According to the official announcement, he said that the asylum seekers in 2023 (until the end of June) were 5,563, compared to 12,048 in 2022 (until the end of June). Furthermore, the returns so far in 2023 have exceeded 4,370, and are significantly higher than last year (during the same period) when they were 2,353.
During the meeting with the two European officials, the Minister said that the current numbers show some positive progress and indicate that the measures taken so far are yielding results. However, he emphasized that there is no room for complacency, stating, “the situation remains significant to be addressed, and we all have a significant role to play”.
The two European officials emphasized the progress Cyprus has achieved recently in asylum and reception procedures, as well as in the area of returns.
The Minister, along with the officials, visited the upgraded Kofinou Reception Center, which has completed its basic renovation and expansion works and is scheduled to start operating and accommodating residents in approximately two weeks.
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY