- United States
Cyprus has always been criticized by other countries and human rights groups of incompetently handling its immigrations issue, particularly its immigrants.
But now, in the light of new but ironic events, the country is to deal with two of the key issues, which have the European countries preoccupied, of creation of reforms to the system that governs the Schengen area and the creation of a common asylum system.
European countries are grappling with the ongoing problem of immigration in the continent.
Greece, Athens to be particular, has been facing a budget crisis lately. Due to this preoccupation, the government in Athens has failed in solving the migration issue it’s facing. Illegal immigrants often cross the border of Greece and turkey. This gateway has become the main source of illegal immigrants entering the Schengen area.
Although criticized by the Amnesty International on not doing enough to safeguard rights of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants, Cyprus has been playing its role to solve the Schengen Reform conflict. Nicosia has vowed to complete this asylum package of a common asylum system by the end of its mandate. But the situation in Europe between the southern and the northern states is complex. The Dublin system, that states that second line countries in Europe can send back the asylum seekers to their countries of entry, is being insisted by Nicosia to be reformed.
The reason for such emphasis is inflow of illegal immigrants into the southern European countries. Such inflow creates a serious migration problem for the countries. And with the northern countries sending back the migrants this problem tends to intensify. But this was declined by the northern countries, although it can still be suspended by legal means if it is proven that the rights of asylum seekers are not respected.
Malta is one of the countries, in the south of Europe, which provide a point of entry to illegal immigrants. It lies close to the shores of Africa, which makes it easier for the migrants to reach it.
Now the rules in the Dublin system have been duly suspended for Athens as the European Court of Human Rights had declared conditions in Greece to be in violation of certain Human Rights. This has created a problem for Germany, as many immigrants migrate here from Greece to get asylum. Due to the exclusion of Athens from the Dublin system, Germany is not at liberty to send back these asylum applicants.
Sources in Cyprus say that Nicosia must do more efforts. The national police force must be connected with the Eurodac system. Such co-operation will enable them to be more precise in tackling the migration issue, as they would have indirect access to the European database of fingerprints of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants.
This would enable the Cypriot authorities to properly handle all migration related cases. Although the country is not a part of Schengen border free area, it will have to take such measures to find a solution to not only migration problems but also to the conflict between the European Parliament and the Council of ministers. Both are in conflict over the legal basis of the future Schengen evaluation mechanism.
A diplomatic source in Cyprus said, “All the concerns voiced by the European Parliament (EP) have been taken into account and the Parliament retains its co-decision on the reform of the Schengen code (which sets conditions on restoring border checks).”
The source went on to say that it would be hard to actually say that the Councils co-decision would have any legal basis. He said that the evaluation mechanism in question is firstly applied on external borders. This means that on all national issues like data protection, external maritime, air and land borders etc.
The Future Presidency in Nicosia said, “The European Parliament’s reaction was too strong. I was expecting disagreement but not obstruction. We will be holding high level meetings.”
Tags: Asylum System, Cyprus, Immigration, Schengen Area, Sommon Asylum System