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EU asylum agency sets up permanent office in Cyprus

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By the Associated Press

Cyprus’ interior minister says the European Union’s asylum agency is setting up a permanent office on the east Mediterranean island nation to help authorities expedite the burgeoning number of asylum claims.

A man is assisted by SOS Mediterranee staff during a rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. The Ocean Viking pulled over 70 migrants from a rubber boat north of Libya.(AP Photo/Renata Brito/MANILA BULLETIN)

A man is assisted by SOS Mediterranee staff during a rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. The Ocean Viking pulled over 70 migrants from a rubber boat north of Libya.(AP Photo/Renata Brito/MANILA BULLETIN)

Constantinos Petrides says Cyprus is the first country to sign a deal with EASO deploying experts to assist processing asylum claims and help curb abuses of the system.

He says the number of EASO experts in Cyprus will soon double to 40 and reach 80 by the end of 2020 to help the country cope with the “disproportionate pressure” it faces.

Petrides met Thursday with EASO chief executive Nina Gregori.

Cyprus says it receives the largest number of asylum claims per capita in the EU, with 8,500 new claims so far this year and 12,500 more still pending.

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