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Politics

Cypriot Minister Says Refugees Will Flood EU’s Southern Borders

NICOSIA – Cyprus’ Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said he anticipates that refugees and migrants will again try to stream into the European Union through its southern borders, including Cyprus.

He said that Mediterranean countries on major migrant routes into Europe expect a wave of arrivals this year as because of food shortages created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, most coming from Africa and the Middle East.

“This year the frontline member states are expected, as we have discussed between us, to receive more than 150,000 migrants,” he said after a meeting with colleagues of the so-called MED5 group in Venice, said Reuters.

Some 36,400 asylum seekers and migrants have already landed in Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Malta this year, after 123,318 arrivals in 2021, according to the United Nations refugee agency, the report also added.

The numbers still are far below those of 2015 when more than a million people fleeing war, strife and economic hardship in their homelands, primarily Syria and Afghanistan, headed for the European Union.

The bloc closed its borders to them, dumping the problem largely on Greece, Malta, Italy and Spain, leaving Turkey to try to contain some 4.4 million under a now essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal with the EU.

A shortage of wheat and other grains could affect 1.4 billion people, United Nations crisis coordinator Amin Awad said, adding more negotiations were needed to unblock the ports in Ukraine to avoid famine and mass migration.

Cyprus hadn’t been a major destination for refugees and migrants despite its proximity to the Middle East but the numbers have risen, especially in proportion to the island’s population.

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