Following the Taliban’s victory, EU countries must take in Afghans who are “immediately threatened,” particularly women and girls, according to the European Commissioner for Home Affairs.”We shouldn’t wait until individuals arrive at our external border to intervene. Prior to that, we must assist them” Before attending an emergency videolink conference of EU interior ministers, Ylva Johansson remarked.
“It’s also critical that we assist people who are in immediate danger of being resettled in EU member states.”
She and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell briefed the ministers on the situation in Afghanistan, where EU countries are among those hastily evacuating civilians and Afghan personnel in the aftermath of the Taliban’s unexpected return to power.
The ministers’ virtual meeting was originally convened to examine how to respond to another major migration issue: Belarus’s encouragement of tens of thousands of migrants, mostly from Iraq, to cross its borders into Lithuania and other EU countries.
The negotiations, however, were overshadowed by developments in Afghanistan, which have fueled European fears of a new wave of Afghan asylum seekers heading to Europe. According to Johansson, EU countries must “prevent a migrant crisis” from Afghanistan.
Afghans in severe need of resettlement should be given priority — “those who have been working for fundamental rights for journalists, for example, and others in Afghanistan who are now under attack and need to be resettled in safety to the European Union.”
She went on to say that the “gender component” was equally significant, implying that “we can assist women and girls.”
However, the EU should assist nations bordering Afghanistan in dealing with predicted waves of Afghan migrants, as well as take steps to prevent them from using “risk routes assisted by traffickers,” she said.
“It’s critical,” Johansson continued, “that we can assist these people in Afghanistan in returning to their homes as soon as possible.”
The commissioner is leading a drive to persuade EU member states to accept the European Commission’s proposed new migration and asylum accord.
However, not all EU countries support the idea, which envisions the burden of hosting migrants being shared across the 27-nation union rather than being placed on countries like Greece and Italy as it is currently.
According to the Commission, Afghanistan has experienced 550,000 internally displaced individuals since the beginning of this year, up from 2.9 million at the end of last year, based on UN numbers released before the Taliban took control.
In a statement, Johansson stated that the EU will “intensify” collaboration with Afghanistan’s neighbours Pakistan, Iran, and Tajikistan, which already host large numbers of Afghan refugees.
This also applies to Turkey, a crucial non-EU country that functioned as the main entry point for asylum seekers until a 2016 pact between Brussels and Ankara halted the influx.
Several EU countries, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, and Germany, were focused on forcefully repatriating Afghans whose asylum applications had been denied before the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan.
Most of those plans have already been shelved, but Austria announced on Wednesday that it would persuade the EU to establish “deportation centers” in Afghanistan’s neighboring nations to house deported Afghans.
Emmanuel Macron, the French president, has likewise promised a stern approach against illegal migration, though he has stressed that France will “protect those who are most at risk in Afghanistan.”