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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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SOME 10 days ago, foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides raised expectations by announcing the possibility of a deal with Turkey for the opening of the fenced off area of Famagusta, for the return of its inhabitants. In exchange the Cyprus government would agree to the opening of Tymbou airport to direct flights. ...
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By George Psyllides PRIVATE auditors have expressed doubt the electricity authority (EAC) could be considered a going concern and have asked its board to draft a credible plan to tackle the problem, according to the auditor-general’s 2012 report on the semi-state company. Among other issues, ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ France says Cyprus needs EU help on immigration ]

France says Cyprus needs EU help on immigration

FRANCE said yesterday that Cyprus’ illegal immigration woes should be passed to FRONTEX, the EU agency which monitors the bloc’s borders.

Brice Hortefeux, the French Minister for Immigration, said in Nicosia that the extent of illegal immigration pouring through the island’s 180-km buffer zone was a serious reality.

“It is certainly an important Cypriot reality,” said Hortefeux. “Monitoring should be passed through the FRONTEX Organisation, and increased,” he added after a meeting with Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis.

Earlier this month, an EU official on the island made it clear that Cyprus was on its own in combating illegal immigration across the Green Line and could not receive official assistance from Brussels.

The Head of Unit Turkish Cypriot Taskforce at the DG Enlargement of the European Commission Andrew Rasbash said the Green Line was not considered an external border of the EU.

Therefore he said the operational and financial means of the EU such as the FRONTEX Agency or the External Border Fund could not be deployed on the Green Line.

Cyprus has been plagued by illegal immigration from the north since the crossing points opened in April 2003, but because the EU acquis is suspended for the Turkish Cypriot breakaway state, they are not under the same pressure to clamp down on illegal immigrants.

Most of the immigrants find their way south easily and see Cyprus as a gateway to Europe. Europe says Cyprus is not doing enough to combat the phenomenon. Cyprus says it cannot handle the situation alone.

Cyprus received 18 asylum requests every day in 2007 and is number one out of 51 countries in terms of applications per capita, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

Hortefeux said that when France takes over the six-month EU rotating presidency on July 1, Paris would push for a European Pact to be established, in co-operation with the other member states, dealing with immigration issues.

Strengthening FRONTEX would be part of this move, he said.

He said the EU faced numerous challenges in relation to immigration as well as asylum seekers.

Sylikiotis expressed Cyprus’ readiness to support the French presidency in its effort to establish a comprehensive immigration policy within the EU.

He said he had also discussed with the French Minister the possibility of co-operation among Mediterranean Member States which were facing similar problems. He suggested meeting in Cyprus with the Mediterranean EU Member States during the French Presidency to discuss how to handle the problem.

Sylikiotis said the problem was not only one of economics but also of demographics, and reiterated that Cyprus needed more support from the EU to deal with it.

At the end of 2007, there were 11,802 asylum seekers in Cyprus whose applications were pending examination.

Nearly 7,000 asylum requests were received last year in Cyprus. The government says that 97 per cent come across the north.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)

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