Cyprus Now Receiving Most Migrants Per Capita in Europe

Syrian refugees rest inside the Temporary Accommodation Centre in Kokkinotrimithia, some 20 kilometres outside the Cypriot capital Nicosia on November 5, 2019. - Cyprus police said they towed to shore 131 migrants, almost all from Syria, after they were sighted on an overcrowded boat off the Mediterranean islands northwest tip. …

As migration routes in the Mediterranean sea change, the island of Cyprus is now being inundated with migrants and has the most arrivals per capita.

The migrants, who tend to arrive in Greek southern Cyprus from boats or air from the Turkish-controlled northern part of the island, have come at a rapid pace, according to a report from Swedish broadcaster SVT.

Christoffer Wendick, a correspondent for the broadcaster, said that Cyprus has become attractive to many and is the easiest way to reach the European Union.

“It allows you to take a flight from the Turkish mainland to the Turkish part of Cyprus and it is almost like a domestic flight,” he said.

Another report from the Cyprus Mail released late last month, claimed that Cyprus could have as many as 100,000 migrants in just five years with migrants making up as much as 3.5 per cent of the population overall.

“You understand what this means for a country like Cyprus,” Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides said. He added: “We are currently experiencing the largest population displacements ever seen and according to the UN 250 million to 300 million people are migrating each year.”

Petrides called on other European Union member states to take in migrants from Cyprus and said: “Not many of them are refugees. These are economic immigrants who abuse or exploit this particularity.”

Earlier this week, 131 Syrian migrants reached the coast of Cyprus, with 118 men, nine children, and four women being allowed to disembark the boat.

In June, the Cypriot government and Interior Minister Petrides claimed that the government of Turkey might be helping traffick migrants into the southern part of the island.

Petrides slammed the Northern Cypriot authorities, saying that they were facilitators of trafficking rings and said the behaviour “cannot be tolerated on a European level”.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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