European Asylum Support Office and Cyprus sign extension of Special Support Plan

Executive Director of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), Jose Carreira, and the Minister of Interior of Cyprus, Constantinos Petrides, signed off a two year extension of the Agency’s Special Support Plan (SSP) to Cyprus, that will now run until 31 January 2019, with additional amendments to its tasks.

According to a press release, the new SSP now sets out EASO’s support in the field of reception and open accommodation through a series of measures and amends the previous version with new specific deliverables that EASO will provide in its operations supporting backlog management and in the field of reception and open accommodation. The agreement will build on the expansion in support activities that EASO has been delivering throughout 2017 to improve and enhance the country’s asylum and reception system.

The 2 year extension and mandate have been discussed with Cyprus authorities, during Mr.Carreiras visit to Cyprus on 20 September, opening the EASO’s office in Nicosia. The operational support is carried out exclusively at the request of, and on behalf of, the authorities in Cyprus. EASO does not take decisions on applications for international protection or carry out any executive functions. EASO’s support for backlog management began in February 2017, whereby the Agency deployed eight dedicated experts later in the year in order to assist Cyprus in clearing the backlog caused by an elevated number of applications for international protection in recent years.

Jose Carreira welcomed the signing of the new SSP as a further bolstering of the close cooperation between EASO and Cyprus’ Asylum Service: Today’s extension of the SSP with our colleagues in Cyprus strengthens EASO’s support to the country and enables us to keep building on the operational assistance we have been providing. I look forward to the work ahead; the Agency will do all it can to support Cyprus in managing its asylum and reception system as efficiently as possible.

Source: Cyprus News Agency