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While the UN expects half a million additional Afghan refugees by 2021, European Union interior ministers met on Tuesday to define a common strategy. The European Commission is called upon to present proposals to support the neighboring countries of Afghanistan, such as Pakistan and Tajikistan, so that they can welcome candidates for exile.

The 27 of the EU pledged, Tuesday, August 31, to support the neighboring countries of Afghanistan to welcome in the region refugees fleeing the Taliban, in order to avoid a migratory influx to Europe.

“We have not seen significant arrivals of Afghans in neighboring countries but we do not know what will happen in a week or a month, and we have to prepare for different scenarios,” said the commissioner. commissioner Ylva Johansson after a meeting of interior ministers. During this meeting, several countries insisted on the need for strict controls to prevent a possible terrorist risk.

German Minister Horst Seehofer said it was necessary to ensure that migrants “stay close to home and their culture”, stressing however that “people particularly at risk” should be able to come to the EU.

During the 2015 crisis, Germany was at the forefront of welcoming Syrians fleeing the war, opening its doors to more than a million asylum seekers. The UN expects half a million additional Afghan refugees by 2021.

For Austrian Minister Karl Nehammer, on a very firm line alongside his Danish and Czech counterparts, “the message to send” is: “stay put and we will support the region”.

France insisted on “consistency between the reception of refugees and the firmness of controls”, through the voice of Gerald Darmanin. The objective is “to help all those who have helped us, are being chased by the Taliban but not to accept immigration which is not controlled,” he said.

“Tailor-made” help

The European Commission is called upon to present proposals to support these neighboring countries, such as Pakistan and Tajikistan, within the framework of the European budget. This aid would come in particular from an envelope of 80 billion euros planned for 2021-2027.

Ylva Johansson estimated that this support should be “tailor-made”, and “not a copy and paste” of the agreement with financial support signed with Turkey in 2016 on Syrian refugees. “The best way to avoid a migration crisis is to avoid a humanitarian crisis,” insisted Ylva Johansson. “This is why we must support the Afghans in Afghanistan” through international organizations “on the ground”, she added. The EU has already announced the quadrupling of its humanitarian aid for 2021 to 200 million euros to Afghanistan and neighboring countries.

The commissioner said the EU was “far from recognizing the Taliban”. “If the Taliban turn out to be the same kind of Taliban as in the past, there is a huge risk of a humanitarian crisis,” she admitted, stressing that the EU had set strict conditions to unfreeze its aid. development to this country.

No quantified commitment from member states to host refugees was announced on Tuesday. A forum on the “resettlement” of Afghan refugees will be organized in September, announced the commissioner, who did not however announce a quantified objective.

” Wash one’s hands “

The reception of migrants is a highly sensitive subject in the EU, which cannot agree to reform its asylum system. In their final declaration, the member states also promise to “do their utmost to ensure that the situation in Afghanistan does not lead to new security risks for EU citizens” and emphasize “the execution of controls safety of evacuees ”.

“We must be careful that people returned from European countries because they were criminals, rapists or others do not come back under the guise of asylum seekers,” commented Slovenian Minister Ales Hojs.

Luxembourg Minister Jean Asselborn lamented that European migration policy is going “in the wrong direction”, calling on the EU to “establish resettlement programs (of refugees) to give hope to people who are being prosecuted, who can no longer live normally. in Afghanistan ”.

Oxfam for its part accused European governments of “washing their hands of their international obligation to provide refuge to those seeking safety and to offload it to other countries”. Amnesty International also urged the EU not to “shift the responsibility for the protection of refugees to third countries”.

With AFP

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