Tuesday

22nd Aug 2017

Cyprus worried about potential Syrian refugees

The incoming Cypriot EU presidency is worried that Syrian refugees could arrive en masse in the island-nation and in the EU more broadly if the conflict gets worse.

Cyprus, located around 170 km west of Syria, is drawing up plans in case Syrian boat refugees arrive on its coast, a Cypriot source told this website.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Cyprus is preparing plans for the possible arrival of Syrian refugees on its coast (Photo: European Commission)

Syrian refugees have so far made their way across land borders to Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey.

The UN estimates that there were 43,000 of them registered as of April in the four countries, with another 12,000-or-so unregistered people also displaced in the region.

Turkey, which shares a 900-km-long border with Syria, has over half of all registered refugees stationed mostly in camps in the Hatay province.

Few Syrians have sought asylum in the EU so far. Around 700 filed for protection at EU airports in 2011. About 1,200 Syrian migrants were detected attempting to cross land borders last year according to the EU's border control agency, Frontex.

The weekend massacre in Houla in western Syria on Friday (25 May) has raised concerns many more could come in future.

Over 100 people were killed, including 49 children and 34 women, when government forces shelled the village. Reports indicate that government-controlled militia, or "shabiha," later went from house to house killing people by hand.

Last year's Arab Spring uprisings saw 25,000 Tunisian migrants arrive on the small Italian island of Lampedusa, even though the Tunisian revolution was mostly peaceful.

The island was unprepared for the influx. Many of the Tunisians had to sleep rough, while others tried to go France, but were forced back to Italy.

The scenario of another refugee crisis could further complicate prospects of finalising the EU's Common European Asylum System (Ceas), due before the end the year.

Ceas is high on the EU Cypriot presidency's agenda and the Cypriot source added that "solidarity and effectiveness" will be needed to finalise it.

But a draft regulation and a directive on asylum are currently stuck in the council, with the Danish EU presidency hoping to find a middle-ground among dissenting member states before July.

France and Italy acted against 'spirit' of EU border laws

Both France and Italy acted within the law when they imposed measures against the thousands of Tunisian immigrants earlier this year, but they breached the "spirit" of the EU's freedom of movement agreement, the EU commission has said.

News in Brief

  1. Austria has begun checks at Italian border
  2. Slovenian PM: Brexit talks will take longer than expected
  3. Merkel backs diesel while report warns of economic harm
  4. UK to publish new Brexit papers this week
  5. Macedonia sacks top prosecutor over wiretap scandal
  6. ECB concerned stronger euro could derail economic recovery
  7. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  8. European Union returns to 2 percent growth

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference