Tuesday, September 28

Refugee debate divides the European Union again

Correspondent in Brussels



The European Commission should take over the “equitable” relocation of Afghan refugees after the Taliban take over their country, said Wednesday the president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli.

Speaking to journalists during an official visit to Lithuania yesterday, Sassoli said that Kabul’s fall to the Taliban and the images of Afghans desperate to flee their country “Promote a wave of migration” in Europe and that the block “will have to show that it cares about respecting ethics.” Therefore, “I believe that the Commission could have the task of an equitable redistribution among all European countries,” said Sassoli, together with Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte, who for her part supported this thesis saying that “I believe that the Commission can fulfill this task well and with equanimity … I think this can also be done quickly.

Sassoli’s statements add to calls to grant asylum to Afghans who have been endangered by the rise to power of the Taliban. However, for now most European governments have been more reluctant than at the time of the massive arrival of Syrian refugees and the general tone of the member countries is oriented rather to close the borders as a first measure. In this case, it is also not an idea held by countries such as Hungary or Poland and the other members of the Visegrad Group, but rather the partisan theses of not admitting Afghan refugees systematically have been defended in the first place by the French president, Emmanuel Macron.

Most of the countries involved in military operations in Afghanistan have chosen to repatriate only the families of those Afghans who have collaborated directly with them. The European Union itself has not yet been able to do the same, despite the fact that countries like Spain have offered to host those Afghans who worked in European programs long-lasting and considered to be the target of retaliation by the Taliban, at least while a division between the countries is decided.

The same policy as with the Syrians

The only one who has been openly in favor of programming the reception of refugees has been the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who is retiring because she does not appear in the September elections.

Other countries propose that the same policy as in the case of the Syrians and proposed to Turkey take care of them in exchange for money. But even in Ankara, opposition political forces have called on President Erdogan not to accept that principle and to refrain from attracting more refugees to the country.

In fact, since the previous Syrian refugee crisis, the EU has not yet been able to reform asylum law despite the fact that everyone agrees that the one that currently exists does not work or is operational enough to even assume the usual flow of boats that cross the Mediterranean.

Meanwhile, the United States has begun landing Afghan refugees in Balkan countries. Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo they have agreed to temporarily host the Afghans that the Americans are evacuating from Kabul. Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani said she was contacted by US President Joe Biden last month with a request to temporarily house Afghan refugees. “Without hesitation or conditioning, I have given my consent to such a humanitarian operation,” he said on social media.

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