Cyprus’ Interior Ministry said Thursday 76 Afghans and Syrians seeking international protection have been relocated to France under a European Union program to ease the burden on Mediterranean countries receiving large numbers of migrants.

The ministry said in a statement the relocation is one of several planned in coming months. A total 210 people have been relocated to other EU countries, including Germany, Bulgaria and Romania, in the three months since such transfers began.

The ministry said the program “constitutes tangible support and solidarity for Cyprus which is first in the EU in the number of individuals applying for international protection relative to its population.”

Some 21 European countries signed a declaration in June 2022 on the voluntary solidarity program to help Mediterranean member states through relocating asylum seekers or recognized refugees or through financial contributions.

Separately, Cyprus has repatriated so far this year some 2,000 people who had their asylum applications rejected. [AP]

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