EUROPE: Cyprus calls for a united front on tackling asylum

Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta will not agree to fragmenting the debate on immigration that does not include a comprehensive reform of the Dublin regulation on asylum seekers.

This is the position of Cypriot Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides who sounded a warning in Brussels on Thursday that countries on the frontline of irregular migration need more help and sharing of the burden.

“EU negotiations at the level of the Ministers of Immigration and Internal Affairs regarding the reform of the Common European Asylum System are indeed at a crucial point after many years with the absence of an agreement on the allocation mechanism of people seeking protection which would help the frontline countries,” said Petrides.

“An attempt is being made by some countries to split the package to move forward with some additional obligations, but without completing Dublin reform with the automatic redistribution mechanism across the EU, for those people in need of protection,” he added.

Petrides said any agreement must include a revision of the Dublin Regulation and the concept of solidarity, that is, the automatic allocation mechanism, and that only additional obligations remain for the frontline countries.

“It has to be understoodthat a country now receiving 1000 asylum applications per month cannot cope alone and, in the absence of this urgent need for a mechanism of automatic allocation across the EU, the system is not functional.

“But we, Greece, Malta and Italy, will not consent to referring Dublin for revision, and that was clear, and I hope we can, after two or three years, move on to a comprehensive reform of the European asylum system, said Petrides.

The Dublin regulation determines responsibility for looking after migrants once they arrive � it requires asylum seekers to make their application in the first EU country they arrive in. That country is then responsible for accepting or rejecting their claim, and the seeker may not restart the process in another state.

But countries like Greece, Italy and Cyprus say this puts an unfair burden on those countries receiving the greatest migration flows.

Source: The Financial Mirror