House of Representatives President Annita Demetriou is sending a letter to her EU counterparts requesting assistance to remove the automatic legal protection status of Syrians, amid increased influxes in Cyprus the past few days from Lebanon.

Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides and Minister of Interior Konstantinos Ioannou have described the situation as critical and the President said he will be meeting with European Commission President this Sunday.

Demetriou who received Thursday the Lebanese Ambassador said that yesterday she sent a letter to the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, who was in Cyprus just a few days ago, informing her of her initiative to hold a meeting of the Speakers of the Parliaments of EU member states who are hot spot countries, on the sidelines of the Summit of the Speakers of the Parliaments of the EU MS in Spain, end of April.

Demetriou spoke of an escalation of the migration crisis and pointed out that feasible proposals and solidarity and assistance from the EU are needed, to tackle the issue.

Referring to the agreement on returns reached with Lebanon in 2020, the House Speaker said that Cyprus understands the difficult political situation in Lebanon, but we are a country faced with the consequences of the Turkish invasion and occupation, with serious demographic problems ”and we cannot allow the current situation to continue, let alone have to manage a new migration wave of irregular migrants”.

She called on the government to exert pressure to the EU so that it could intervene in Lebanon’s direction.

Demetriou said that increased patrols at sea are needed and added that the special status of automatic legal protection that Syrian migrants have, should be immediately lifted. She said that she informed the Lebanese Ambassador that Cyprus is examining specific steps and has specific demands from the EU to this end.

In her statements Demetriou noted that migration is not an issue that only Cyprus is faced with.

She also posed a series of questions regarding closed structures, faster assessment of applications, deportations etc.

Replying to a question, she said that parliament has a role to play through parliamentary diplomacy and the influence it can exercise.

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