“Lack of courage”. This is the conclusion drawn by the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli (PD / S & D) from the declaration approved Tuesday afternoon by the European Union’s Interior Ministers. A statement that marked a collective position on the exodus of Afghan refugees: aid, yes; but in the region, not in Europe.
“We were very disappointed by the conclusions of the Interior Council yesterday”, Sassoli said during his speech at the Bled Strategic Forum organized by the Slovenian presidency of the day of the EU: “We have seen countries outside the European Union welcome Afghan asylum seekers, but we have not seen any member country do the same.”
In this sense, the Italian recognizes that “everyone thought correctly of those who worked with them and their families.” And he adds: “But none had the courage to offer refuge to those whose lives are still in danger today. We cannot pretend that the Afghan question does not concern us, because we participate in that mission sharing its objectives and purposes.”
Sassoli has defended that “a strong and common European voice on the international stage is more necessary now than ever”, in order to “define its strategic interests also within the framework of the Transatlantic Alliance, in order to carry out stabilization actions, consolidation of peace and development together with partners in a multilateral framework “.
“And this goes hand in hand with the need to move together towards a true common security and defense policy, without which we will continue to depend on the goodwill of other great powers and we will expose ourselves to the threats of authoritarian regimes,” added Sassoli. , participating in the debate recently reopened by the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, on the need for a European army.
The President of the European Parliament has also insisted on “taking an ambitious step forward and considering qualified majority voting in the Council whenever possible, to ensure the speed and effectiveness of common external action”. Indeed, the need for consensus and unanimity often paralyzes joint action by the EU in foreign policy – in addition to many other areas, such as taxation, for example, or the conclusions of leaders’ summits.
The IU spokesperson in the European Parliament, Sira Rego, has also been critical of the decision of the Interior Ministers: “They have reached an agreement that could be perfectly signed by Salvini or Abascal. Neither asylum, nor refuge, nor reception: the EU has decided bet everything to pay whatever it takes to the countries bordering Afghanistan to keep Afghan refugees there, away from lights and cameras, and prevent them from reaching Europe. Looking at the gallery, Europe is supportive and willing ” organize safe networks. ”Inside, Europe is deeply unsupportive and the extreme right’s agenda is not that it conditions EU migration policies, but that it directly directs them.”
Support for refugees … but in the region
The EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers They agreed to a statement this Tuesday reinforcing the general idea of ”protection” for Afghans. But, yes, thousands of kilometers from European borders, while there is talk of “illegal migration” – five times – instead of “irregular migration”, when the European Commission itself points out that due to “the association with the criminality, the term ‘illegal migration’ should be avoided, as the majority of irregular migrants are not criminals. ”
The Interior Ministers also affirm that “the EU will strengthen its support to third countries, in particular neighboring and transit countries, which host a large number of migrants and refugees, to strengthen their capacity to provide protection, conditions of dignified and safe reception and sustainable livelihoods for refugees and host communities. The EU will also cooperate with these countries to prevent illegal migration from the region, strengthen border management capacities and prevent migrant smuggling and migration. human trafficking. In addition, as part of global efforts, resettlement support could be provided on a voluntary basis, prioritizing vulnerable people such as women and children. ”
Ministers say they bear in mind the 2015 crisis: “Based on the lessons learned, the EU and its Member States are determined to act together to prevent the recurrence of large-scale, uncontrolled illegal migratory movements that have occurred in the Incentives for illegal migration should be avoided. The EU should also strengthen support to Afghanistan’s neighboring countries to ensure that people in need receive adequate protection mainly in the region. ”
Thus, the EU seems to want to go in phases: the first, to evacuate its closest personnel against the clock; the second, to pay to keep Afghan refugees in the region without reaching Europe; and the third, to try to coordinate international efforts for the voluntary resettlement of refugees. The European Commission wants to do the latter through the Resettlement Forum, which includes the EU, the US, Canada and the UN, and which will be convened by Brussels in September “to discuss concrete priorities with the Member States and provide sustainable solutions. Afghans who are most vulnerable, particularly women and children, but also human rights activists, journalists, lawyers. We will cooperate together with other world leaders in a coordinated approach to safe and legal routes to resettlement, “said the European Commissioner for the Interior, Ylva Johansson.
The vice president of the European Commission and responsible for Promoting the European Lifestyle, Margaritis Schinas, asked this Tuesday at the entrance of the meeting to “mobilize resources” and work with neighboring Afghanistan to prevent the flow of migrants to the borders In addition, he stated that the EU “should not be a permanent claimant of security but rather become a provider of security.”
As published by El País, the European Commission wants to mobilize up to 1,100 million: 200 million in humanitarian aid for women, girls and the most vulnerable – announced after the G7 meeting by President Ursula von der Leyen -; 300 million in two years for the distribution of refugees; and 600 million for reception centers for asylum seekers outside the borders of the EU, in order to prevent refugees from crowding the borders of Europe.