The statements made by some EU politicians expressing great solidarity with the Afghans who lose their freedoms and rights, but say they have to stay there, “does not live up to the values of the EU,” said Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Sunday, the 80th anniversary of the Ventotene Manifesto, which laid out a vision for a united Europe.
“I am well aware that many countries are held back by contingent electoral concerns,” said Mattarella. “But in this way we end up entrusting the management of the phenomenon [of migration] to smugglers and human traffickers,” he added.
Mattarella is thus calling for a common European policy on migration to be made a priority to “avoid being overwhelmed by an uncontrollable phenomenon” which in the next 25 or 30 years will affect everyone, including northern European countries.
The Slovenian presidency has called an extraordinary meeting of home affairs ministers to discuss Afghanistan and the situation of Afghan refugees on 31 August but is unlikely to agree on how many refugees the EU itself might accept and according to diplomats will lay more emphasis on security instead.
An EU diplomat told EURACTIV that member states mull supporting financially neighbouring countries such as Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan in order for Afghans to remain in Central Asia and keep them away from the bloc.
“EU member states do want Afghan refugees to reach even Turkey,” the diplomat said.
Europe is not ready to address another migration wave as a new migration pact proposed by the European Commission has been stuck.
Southern and northern European countries disagree on the issue of mandatory relocations while little progress is expected during Slovenia’s EU Presidency.
The diplomat added that the upcoming German and French elections “definitely don’t help the situation politically.”
According to the Italian president, a common immigration policy must go hand in hand with a sharing of foreign and defence policy, because what happened in Afghanistan and earlier in Syria “highlighted the low impact capacity of the European Union, which has been totally absent from the events.”
This is a serious fact for Europe and its allies, for NATO and for the United States, the Italian president added. “In a world where international players are increasingly big, I believe the closest ally of the US should have greater operational capacity,” he added. / argumentum.al