EU looks to stave off 'uncontrolled' Afghan migration

(Photo: Jordan News)
BRUSSELS  — The EU plans to bolster financial aid to Afghanistan's neighbors and head off "uncontrolled large-scale illegal migration" after the Taliban's takeover, according to a draft statement seen Monday by AFP.اضافة اعلان

Interior ministers from the 27-nation group meet in Brussels on Tuesday for emergency talks as they seek to avoid a repeat of the 2015 migrant crisis that saw over one million people enter the bloc.

"Based on lessons learned, the EU and its member states stand determined to act jointly to prevent the recurrence of uncontrolled large-scale illegal movements faced in the past, by preparing a coordinated and orderly response," said the draft prepared for the meeting.

As part of the efforts, it said, the EU "will engage and strengthen its support to third countries, in particular the neighboring and transit countries, hosting large numbers of migrants and refugees, to reinforce their capacities to provide protection, dignified and safe reception conditions and sustainable livelihood for refugees and host communities."

The statement — which could still change — also focused on security worries coming from Afghanistan and said member states "will do their utmost to ensure that the situation in Afghanistan does not lead to new security threats for EU citizens", including intelligence sharing and security checks on evacuees.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told Italy's Corriere Della Sera newspaper the bloc had "to increase cooperation with the neighboring countries to resolve issues related to Afghanistan. We must help them with the first refugee wave."
"Afghans fleeing the country are not going to reach Rome in the first place, but maybe Tashkent (in Uzbekistan). We need to help those countries that will be on the front line."

Asked if they would receive European financial assistance to host Afghan refugees, he said: "The absorption capacity of Europe has its limits and nothing can be done without strong cooperation.

"Neighboring countries will be affected more and earlier than Europe. So, yes: that also means giving those countries financial support as we have done with Turkey."

The return of the hardline Islamist group to power in Kabul on August 15 has plunged the future of many Afghans into uncertainty and sparked concern that millions may seek refuge in neighboring countries and Europe.
In 2016, Turkey inked a deal with the EU to stem the flow of migrants — mainly from Syria — to Europe by hosting millions of arrivals in return for some incentives including financial assistance.

EU Battlegroups

Borrell said the crisis in Afghanistan, sparked by the withdrawal of US troops, had highlighted the need for the EU to have its own military capacity.
"The EU must be able to intervene to protect our interests when the Americans don't want to be involved," Borrell said.

"Our first entry force should be made of 5,000 soldiers that we are able to mobilize at short notice. We have EU Battlegroups but these have never been mobilised. We need to be able to act quickly."

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