European Union Prepares to Counter Coming Afghan Migrant Crisis

TOPSHOT - Afghan passengers sit as they wait to leave the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the group's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule. (Photo by Wakil …
WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images

European Union member-states are gearing up to counter a possible migrant crisis from Afghanistan, according to a draft statement that is set to be officially released on Tuesday.

The EU is looking not to repeat the 2015 migrant crisis which saw nearly one million people cross illegally into the bloc through Greece alone in the span of less than a year.

The draft statement, which was published on Monday by the news service Reuters, states that the bloc is ready to counter a possible crisis emerging from the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in recent weeks.

“Based on lessons learned, 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, by preparing a coordinated and orderly response,” the statement reads.

EU ministers attending the Tuesday meeting are also expected to back an EU promise to give cash to countries around Afghanistan in order to host Afghans fleeing the Taliban.

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

The policy of giving countries cash to prevent migrants from trying to reach Europe has been ongoing at least since the EU’s 2016 migrant deal with Turkey, which has seen billions of euros paid to the country following the 2015 migrant crisis. Earlier this year, the EU promised at least €3 billion (£2.5 billion/$3.6 billion) more for the coming years.

During a meeting this week with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu made it clear that his country was not able nor willing to take in a large number of additional migrants from Afghanistan.

Çavuşoğlu stated that both Europe and the neighbouring countries to Afghanistan would be affected if the Afghan situation turned into a new migrant crisis.

According to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, as many as 500,000 Afghans may try and flee the country by the end of the year, while others have predicted as many as three million may try to reach Europe in the foreseeable future.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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