NICOSIA – As part of a European Union plan to relocate refugees seeking asylum – after closing its borders to them – a group of 48 was sent from Cyprus to Germany, which has promised to take a total of 500 of them.
The token program was set up as Greece had complained it was taking too much of the burden with other EU countries reneging on earlier pledges to help take some of an overload of scores of thousands.
“The asylum situation in Cyprus requires European solidarity and fair burden sharing in the EU. Germany is taking the lead in this. For the Federal Government, it is urgent to show solidarity through action and against resistance and difficulties,” the German Embassy in Nicosia wrote on its official Twitter account, reported SchengenVisaInfo.com.
German Ambassador Anke Schlimm said that this is ‘only the beginning’, suggesting that the country will continue to take in eligible individuals to relieve the burden on Cyprus, the report added.
“I am convinced that the individuals who travel today and in the future owing to relocation will find a good new home in Germany. They will be an enrichment for Germany with their diligence, skills and experience,” she said, no indication she knew about their backgrounds.
According to Info Migrants, Cyprus has been registering the highest number of asylum seekers per capita, most from war-torn Afghanistan and Syria although the island, a member of the European Union – apart from the Turkish-occupied northern third – has largely been bypassed.
Since the number of arrivals made by asylum seekers has been so high, Cyprus has repatriated almost 7,000 migrants from its territory so far this year, the report also noted as more keep coming, primarily to Greek islands.
The site earlier reported that 13 out of the EU’s 27 member states said they would take in 8,000 people, an infinitesimal amount of those in detention camps and other countries including Malta, Spain and Cyprus.