Cyprus handed over 76 asylum seekers to French authorities on Thursday, the first transfer from that country to France as part of a pilot program on the distribution of asylum seekers within the European Union (EU), according to the Cypriot Ministry of Home Affairs.
France's acceptance of the transfer from Cyprus of 76 first (asylum) seekers is seen as practical support and a gesture of solidarity
" from Paris with Nicosia, welcomed the ministry.
They are people from Syria and Afghanistan, whose transfer was organized by the European Asylum Agency (EUAA), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the French authorities, a- he added.
Over the past three months, 210 asylum seekers - including these 76 people - have been transferred to France but also to Germany, Bulgaria and Romania, as part of a pilot program aimed at supporting "member countries
facing growing immigration challenges
,” according to the ministry.
According to the government, nearly 5% of the 915,000 inhabitants of the Mediterranean island are asylum seekers, a record figure in the EU.
Around 1,500 asylum applications are lodged each month with the Cypriot authorities, according to the same source.
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The European Commission presented in September 2020 a “
Pact on migration and asylum
” in order to ensure a better distribution of asylum seekers within the bloc, a new attempt at reform after the failure of the compulsory quotas decided in the aftermath of the 2015 refugee crisis.
At the heart of tough negotiations, the European asylum reform passed a key stage on Tuesday, with a first vote in Parliament on several major texts, in particular on solidarity between Member States in the reception of exiles.
Under the current rules (Dublin Regulation), the responsible country is usually the one through which a migrant arrived in the EU, which places a burden on countries such as Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Malta or Spain a burden they consider disproportionate.