Europe’s response to potential Afghan refugee crisis

While U.K. said it will welcome 20,000 refugees, many EU nations do not want to grant asylum to Afghans.

In the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan’s government, many Afghans have fled the country to find safer habitat. Many European nations have acknowledged the potential incoming wave of Afghan immigrants to their borders.

On Tuesday, the British government announced the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy. According to this policy, a total of 20,000 Afghans will be welcomed in Britain, however only 5,000 people would be taken in in the first year of the programme. The programme aims to prioritise women, girls and religious and other minorities.

In mainland Europe, countries such as Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark and France halted the deportations of Afghan immigrants with Germany, The Netherlands and Denmark changing their strong stance on the issue only as late as last week. Germany and The Netherlands were part of 6 EU-countries that wrote to the European Union to allow them to continue their expulsion of Afghans who had not been granted asylum. Austria, one of those six countries, on the other hand continues to deport Afghan immigrants from Austria who were not granted asylum. Austria’s interior minister, Karl Nehammer, presented a strong stance in the government’s decision stating his responsibility for the people living in Austria and the welfare of the nation.

German chancellor Angela Merkel in a press conference on Monday mentioned how the government would help in providing support to countries closer to Afghanistan in facilitating the resettlement of Afghan refugees. She did not mention any role of Germany becoming a host to these refugees although many politicians in her party and others right wing parties shunned the idea of Germany opening up its borders to Afghans seeking refuge and avoiding a similar situation it found itself in 2015 when it opened its borders to a large number of refugees from Syria.

France’s president Emanuel Macron called for a strong response from Europe to the flow of migration after developments in Afghanistan. He stated that Europe could not alone face the consequences of the situation that has unfolded in Afghanistan and that an irregular flow of migration would endanger the people who use it and would allow for trafficking of all kinds.

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