Cyprus is poised this week to make a formal request to the Netherlands to accept some of the thousands of refugees on the island, broadcaster NOS said on Monday.
Cyprus’ home affairs minister Constantinos Petrides has told the broadcaster he has no faith in the European resettlement mechanism for distributing refugees across the EU and that he is now approaching individual countries.
The situation in Cyprus, he said, is insupportable.
The island is now home to thousands of refugees who have arrived by sea from the Middle East and Africa.
Some 15,000 refugees on the island have been processed and a further 15,000 are awaiting documentation, NOS said. Every month 1,000 new refugees are arriving.
‘Cyprus was not prepared for this,’ Petrides said. ‘We are a small island and have not completely solved our own 1974 refugee crisis. Now these new arrivals comprise more than 4% of our population.’
The Netherlands gave protected status to 4,795 refugees last year and granted asylum to a further 1,225 people who had first registered in another EU country, according to figures from European statistics agency Eurostat.
In total, the 28 European member states gave protected status to almost 333,400 refugees, down 40% on 2017. Most – 139,000 – were taken in by Germany, with Italy and France in second and third place.
The Netherlands plans to cut the number of refugees it will accept under the EU resettlement scheme to 500 following the decision to allow more children to qualify for the child refugee amnesty.
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