Europol Director stresses that Cyprus is key partner

Europol’s Executive Director Catherine De Bolle has said that Cyprus is a key partner in the effort to combat terrorism

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Cyprus “key” partner in efforts to combat terrorism, Europol Executive Director says

Europol’s Executive Director Catherine De Bolle has said that Cyprus is a “key” partner in the effort to combat terrorism.

The European official, who is paying Cyprus a visit, was speaking after a meeting she had on Tuesday with Ministers of Justice and Public Order George Savvides and Minister of Interior Nicos Nouris. Earlier she also a meeting with the Chief of Police Kypros Michaelides. Cypriot officials sought Europol’s help with the increased influx of illegal immigrants into the island.

Europol is very much aware of the challenges the Cyprus police forces are confronted with and we are dedicated to help and to support the Cypriot police,” De Bolle said after the meeting she had with the two ministers.

“Europol is very much aware of the challenges the Cyprus police forces are confronted with and we are dedicated to help and to support the Cypriot police”

She added that during the meeting they discussed issues to do with the Republic of Cyprus’ internal security and the effect they could have on the EU’s internal security, pointing out that this is why “the only answer can be to join our forces” to give an answer to criminals.

Europol, she assured, will continue to support the Cyprus Police and its efforts to tackle migrant smuggling, the fight against fake marriages and the fight against terrorism.

She further stressed that Cyprus is a “key” partner in the efforts to combat terrorism in the EU.

In statements after her meeting with Michaelides earlier, she praised her Cypriot colleagues for their excellent work.

Europol is here to support Cyprus in protecting EU outer borders, she said.

What Cyprus does here, is very important for the EU’s internal security and all member states, she noted, expressing Europol’s readiness to give support following a request by the Republic of Cyprus.

“What Cyprus does here is very important for the EU’s internal security and all member states.”

She also referred to the participation of Cyprus police in many large international operations in cooperation with Europol and gave the example of a joint operation in September 2019 against organized crime in the Western Balkans, involved in arms trafficking, immigrant trafficking, fraud, and drug trafficking.

In his statements, Savvides referred to irregular migration, noting that Cyprus is a front-line country receiving the greatest number of irregular immigrants and refugees in relation to other European countries in the Mediterranean. “We discussed our positions and exchanged views on how to tackle the challenges we are called on to manage,” he said.

Among other things, he added, we discussed the implementation of the practice of “Guest Officers”, that is to say, Europol’s experts who are in Cyprus to enhance our services in matters relating to the analysis of information and controls and we looked into the possible extension of this practice both its timeframe and the number of participants, taking into consideration its successful course until now.

Savvides further noted that a discussion took place during the meeting on the role Turkey could play “in reducing migratory flows but also of the cooperation it should have with all EU member states, including the Republic of Cyprus.” He added that they also discussed further steps to support prosecuting authorities in dealing with modern challenges and state security.

In his statements, Nouris said that during the meeting they discussed the possibility of increasing as much as possible the help Europol offers to Cyprus in immigration matters, which are of particular concern for the country.

“We have outlined the matters which are of concern for us,” he said, pointing out that they include the very large migratory flows and particularly the illegal flows from the green line.

“The Republic of Cyprus needs the greatest possible support of the EU, all relevant agencies operating in the sector in order to deal with the immigration problem.”

“The Republic of Cyprus needs the greatest possible support of the EU, all relevant agencies operating in the sector in order to deal with the immigration problem,” he said, adding that Europol is one of them.

In his statements Cyprus Police Chief Kypros Michaelides said that the challenges countries face in the areas of security and of combating crime know no borders, noting that cross-border crime, organized serious crime, the illegal trafficking and exploitation of persons, the threat of terrorism and many other new challenges are now continuously on the police mission agenda.

He also said that he briefed De Bolle at length on the new state of affairs on the island as a result of the fact that immigrant influx has multiplied from the sea and via the green line separating the area under the government’s control and the Turkish occupied areas.

The immigration problem is an issue that many European societies have to deal with but Southern European countries including Cyprus especially in the last three years have to deal with increased and disproportionate with its population, uncontrollable flows.

As he noted, in 2019 alone, over 12,000 new asylum applications were submitted in Cyprus.

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