After a meeting with Minister of Interior, Neoklis Sylikiotis, she said that Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Italy have the highest influx of immigrants. After Cyprus she will visit the remaining three countries to discuss ways to help resolve problems relating to illegal migration.
Albayrak said that Holland is one of the countries which has gained some experience with refugees seeking protection and getting protection in the Netherlands. The applications for political asylum in Holland in 2008 reached 14.500, she added.
The Dutch official referred to two strategies, the implementation of the legislation agreed in the EU and the cooperation in a more practical way “not only to implement the laws that we pass, but also to bring up the practical standards we have in all European countries”.
She said that Holland can help Cyprus improve its standards regarding migration management, asylum procedures, granting refugee status, the protection of refugees and the repatriation of the ones who cannot stay in Cyprus. She supported also the idea to establish the Office of European Refugee Fund in Cyprus “so we can speed up the practical cooperation even more”.
Sylikiotis said that the applications for political asylum in Cyprus reached 5,000 in 2008 and so far in 2009 there are less than 3000. In the meeting he underlined the need for equal share of the burden of illegal immigration and for solidarity among member states.
“We believe that cooperation (with Holland) will be helpful. Our Asylum Department, which is new, will be greatly assisted through this cooperation to improve its services,” he said. Cooperation between the two countries will continue in the field of repatriation of the refugees.
He underlined the need for a comprehensive policy on legal and illegal migration as well as asylum matters. The Minister reiterated the willingness of Cyprus to host the Office of European Refugee Fund.
Financial Mirror, May 26, 2009