After Afghanistan returned to the Taliban, Europe said it was ready to face the ongoing humanitarian crisis so as not to repeat the mistakes of the migration crisis after the 2015 conflict in Syria.
What does this mean in practice? Humanitarian organizations, the European Commission and the President of the Euro Parliament David Sassoli are asking for safe channels to help refugees and distribute them among the EU countries, while the governments of the individual states seem to disagree on reception tout court despite the terrible Afghan situation. From Macron to Orban, from the Visegrad blockade to the Mediterranean, no one has lifted a finger.
Still, there would be a tool. And it is also very powerful. This is the 2001 directive on temporary protection in the event of the massive arrival in the European Union of asylum seekers. The law, reads the European Commission’s website, “is an exceptional measure to provide immediate and temporary protection to displaced persons from third countries, which provides for a structured mechanism to ensure solidarity and balance between the EU states in welcoming displaced persons, with intra-European transfers, “on the basis of voluntary offers”. The law it can enter into force with a qualified majority decision at the EU Council.
It was the EU High Representative who repeatedly evoked this norm Josep Borrell: “I want to remind you that there is a directive from 2001, which has never been used. This could be an opportunity to address the situation, should there be pressure from a mass of asylum seekers on some Member States. This is not the case now – he explained – For the moment it is a matter of a few thousand people at the airport, but in the coming weeks or months it could be a matter of many more people and this wave could catch up with us ”.
It would be the first time the directive has been used, after being feared but never activated for the Syrian crisis of 2015. David Sassoli has launched an appeal for member countries to redistribute Afghan refugees “equally”. The EU Commissioner for Internal Affairs, the Swedish, echoed him Ylva Johansson, who proposed a similar solution, recalling that the80 percent of the people fleeing Afghanistan are women and children.
But how many people would that be? The UN speaks of 18 million Afghans in need of humanitarian assistance, UNHCR estimates that in just one week 20-30 thousand refugees have crossed or are about to cross the borders.
Canada and the United Kingdom have already announced plans to welcome 20,000 refugees Afghans each, and while the USA, with the help of EU candidate countries such as Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo, have for weeks been preparing plans for the first assistance to asylum seekers.
For their part, Italy and Greece they are afraid of finding themselves as in 2015 to deal with an unmanageable migratory pressure, with the mechanism of automatic redistribution of migrants that has never been translated into legislative acts.
The answers of the Macron’s France and Angela Merkel’s Germany instead seem to be influenced by upcoming elections (next year and September respectively). It is well known that the issue of immigration tickles the belly of voters a lot. The two countries are preparing to treat people fleeing Afghanistan as gods “irregular” migrants and seek agreements with neighboring or transit countries such as Iran and Turkey to block departures towards the European continent in the bud.
The big four, namely France, Germany, Spain and Italy, have also fought in Afghanistan in these 20 years, but the country has now plunged back into terror. In conclusion, there is some responsibility towards the families who are now asking for refuge to escape the Taliban regime. Afghanistan needs to be addressed: Europe, where are you?