Top eurocrats poised to use Afghan crisis to launch power grab over EU’s migration rules

Afghanistan: 'US & UK have created humanitarian crisis' says ex-soldier

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A top eurocrat said the Taliban rise to power in Afghanistan and the actions of Belarus demonstrate the need for an overhaul of the European Union’s powers. Many EU governments are nervous about the developments in Afghanistan and fear they could trigger a repeat of Europe’s 2015/2016 migration crisis. During that period, more than a million people arrived from war-torn countries in the Middle East, which stretched security services, welfare systems and fuelled support for eurosceptic movements.

European Commissioner Margaritis Schinas, responsible for protecting the European way of life, latched onto those fears.

He said: “If there is one thing that the situation in Afghanistan and the actions of Belarus have shown, it is that the clock has run out on how long we can wait to adopt the complete overhaul of Europe’s migration and asylum rules we need.”

EU foreign affairs ministers have been ordered to attend emergency talks on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

Josep Borrell, the EU Commission’s top foreign diplomat, said the meeting will act as a “first assessment” and that “Afghanistan stands at a crossroad”.

“Security and wellbeing of its citizens, as well as international security, are at play,” he added.

EU ambassadors on the bloc’s Political and Security Committee have this afternoon already held secret talks on the issue.

And EU home affairs ministers will meet as an “integrated Political Crisis Response” group on Wednesday to discuss the growing number of migrants crossing into the bloc from Belarus.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has been accused of fuelling illegal migration into the EU in revenge for sweeping sanctions imposed on his regime by Brussels.

EU commissioner Ylva Johansson, the bloc’s home affairs chief, said the situations in Belarus and Afghanistan require “sustainable and predictable solutions for the long-term”.

She added: “The more we ‘Europeanise’ migration and asylum policy, the more effective our response, and the less vulnerable we will be in the future. Hence my emphasis on how the new Pact on Migration and Asylum is the way forward.”

The threat of a new migration crisis has already seen a rise in hardline rhetoric across the EU’s capitals.

Austria has vowed to keep sending home Afghans whose asylum requests failed.

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Interior minister Karl Nehammer said: “It is easy to call for a general ban on deportation to Afghanistan, while on the other hand negating the expected flight movements.

“Those who need protection must receive it as close as possible to their country of origin.”

Austria was one of six countries that last week demanded that the EU insists on forcibly deporting failed asylum seekers back to Afghanistan.

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Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands have since withdrawn their support for the proposal.

A poll published in an Austrian newspaper found that 90 percent of the general government supported Vienna’s hardline approach.

The study linked the support to a high-profile criminal case in June in which four Afghans in Vienna are suspected of drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl who later died.

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