December 3, 2021

EU prepares to keep out Afghan refugees

EU nations are getting ready to cease Afghan refugees from probably coming into en masse, amid fears of a repeat of the 2015 migration disaster, when 1 million individuals got here to Europe.

“The EU and its member states stand determined to act jointly to prevent the recurrence of uncontrolled, large-scale, illegal migration movements faced in the past,” EU home-affairs ministers will agree to say after an emergency assembly in Brussels on Tuesday (31 August), in accordance to a draft assertion, dated 28 August, and seen by EUobserver.

Among the measures will attempt to “protect the EU external borders and prevent unauthorised entries”, together with by deploying border-control officers from the EU’s Frontex company.

They are going to cowl “new tools to deter attempts to instrumentalise illegal migration for political purposes”, in a touch of potential sanctions in opposition to nations similar to Belarus, Russia, and Turkey which have, prior to now, inspired migrants to cross EU borders to actual concessions.

And they’re going to embody “targeted information campaigns” to “combat the narratives used by smugglers, including in the online environment, which encourage people to embark on dangerous and illegal journeys towards Europe”.

“Incentives to illegal migration should be avoided,” the draft assertion added, alluding to considerations that if some EU states have been too welcoming, it would encourage individuals to come.

In the meantime, different measures will concentrate on paying Afghanistan’s neighbours to host refugees as a substitute.

“The EU should also strengthen support to the countries in Afghanistan’s immediate neighbourhood to ensure that those in need receive adequate protection primarily in the region,” the draft assertion famous.

The cash may come from the EU’s so-called Neighbourhood, Improvement, and Worldwide-Cooperation Instrument, part of the EU funds price €79.5bn between 2021 and 2027, the textual content stated.

“The EU will also cooperate with those countries to … reinforce border management capacity and prevent smuggling of migrants,” it added.

The EU ministers addressed worries terrorist teams would possibly infiltrate refugees to get operatives into Europe.

“Exchange of information and intelligence … are of utmost importance. The timely performance of security checks of persons being evacuated from Afghanistan remains crucial,” they deliberate to say.

And so they seemed to the larger concern {that a} Taliban-controlled Afghanistan may grow to be a save haven for terrorists, the best way it did earlier than 9/11.

“All efforts must be pursued to ensure that … Afghanistan does not become once again a sanctuary for terrorists and organised crime groups,” the draft assertion stated.

The ministers did voice willingness to “provide adequate protection to those in need”.

They spoke of “targeted solutions” for additional evacuations of “persons at risk” who had helped Western powers.

They inspired “resettlement [to the EU] on a voluntary basis” of refugees from Afghanistan’s neighbours, “prioritising … women and children”.

And so they spoke of harmonising “member states’ practices in the reception and processing of Afghan asylum seekers”, though the EU has, in current occasions, failed to agree any reforms of its asylum legal guidelines, which place the burden on front-line nations, similar to Greece.

However for its half, the Taliban indicated that failed asylum seekers deported again house may face reprisals.

“They would be taken to court. The court would then have to decide how to proceed with them,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman instructed Austria’s Kronen Zeitung newspaper on Monday.

The EU ministers have been assembly the identical day the final US forces left Afghanistan after 20 years there.

Taliban embassies?

Diplomats from the ‘G7’ membership of Western nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US – in addition to the EU, Nato, Turkey, and Qatar additionally held talks on Afghanistan in Doha on Monday.

British prime minister Boris Johnson has urged nations ought to recognise the Taliban authorities in return for assist in holding down terrorism.

The transfer would entail opening Taliban-controlled embassies in cities similar to London, Paris, and Washington, which may be laborious for the general public to swallow, given the Taliban’s historical past of violence and its hardline Islamic values.

It might additionally entail unfreezing Afghanistan’s gold and international forex reserves within the World Financial institution.

However the US state division was lukewarm about Johnson’s concept.

“We’ve said recognition of the Taliban remains a matter for individual countries,” a US diplomat instructed EUobserver on Monday.

The EU international service was additionally tepid.

“While we have to deal with the Taliban for a number of reasons (evacuation, humanitarian issues, delivering our messages) we will not rush into recognition,” a spokesman for the EU international service instructed EUobserver.

“We will be watching first of all how they respect … democracy, rule of law, and fundamental rights and freedoms of the population, especially women and minorities,” he added.

“The Taliban will be judged by their actions,” he stated.

Requested if there have been prospects of opening a Taliban-controlled embassy to the EU in Brussels, he stated that might be a call for Belgium to make.

“The question of eventual diplomatic representation by the new Afghan government is, firstly, premature at this stage, and, secondly, something for the EU member states, since they are physically hosting the foreign diplomatic mission and allowing them to operate and accredit their staff,” he instructed EUobserver.

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