The international community must now “do everything possible” to improve the situation in Afghanistan, said Kurz in the Puls24 “summer talk”, which will be broadcast on Sunday evening. However, Austria must also admit that “not everything is in our power,” said the Chancellor. Austria has already made a “disproportionately large contribution” in recent years and is home to one of the largest Afghan communities in Europe. He is therefore “not of the opinion that we should take in more people in Austria”. “That will not happen under my chancellorship,” emphasized Kurz.
Instead, people should be helped in neighboring states, he repeated the suggestion made by ÖVP politicians over the past few days. Specifically, Kurz saw Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, which so far had only accepted relatively few Afghans, had an obligation. The EU should support countries in the region and convince them to “give protection to people who seek protection”.
EU takes on local Afghan workers
An initial reception center has now been set up in Madrid for those Afghans who fled the Taliban because of their cooperation with the West. EU Commission President von der Leyen visited this center on Saturday.
Reference to 2015
It is true that there is “absolutely no argument” that the radical Islamic Taliban, who had conquered Afghanistan at a rapid pace over the past few weeks, are “cruel” and that the living conditions in the country are “terrible”. But you have to realize that “we don’t have everything in our hands, we cannot determine how things go in other countries,” said the Chancellor. Civil war-like conditions and recurring unrest are “a long history and tradition in this country”. “We must not repeat the mistakes of 2015,” Kurz was quoted in a statement sent by his office to the APA.
Warning of “possible escape movements”
The EU Commission called on the EU countries to accept refugees from Afghanistan in the member states. One also has to prepare for possible escape movements. “So far not so many people move to Europe, but the situation is changing quickly and we have to be prepared for different scenarios,” said EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson of “Welt am Sonntag”. The EU states should, however, allow Afghan refugees in legally.
The situation in the country is “unstable” and things are changing quickly, the social democratic politician from Sweden told the German newspaper. Johansson added: “We shouldn’t make the same mistakes we made in 2015. We shouldn’t wait until the people are at the EU’s external borders. ”This means that Afghans have to be supported within the country and in the neighboring countries of the region. This also includes Turkey.
Brussels is ready to coordinate and give more support to the resettlement programs of the UN refugee agency UNHCR: “We don’t want people to go on dangerous trips where people smugglers take advantage of people’s plight. That is why I call on all EU countries to increase their quotas for resettlement of refugees within the UNHCR program. “
Von der Leyen for inclusion
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also called on all member states on Saturday to accept Afghans in need of protection. The EU Commission will provide financial support for the countries that offer the refugees a new home, said von der Leyen during a visit to an initial reception center for Afghan local EU workers who fled the Taliban in Spain.
The President of the Commission visited the Torrejon de Ardoz military base near Madrid together with EU Council President Charles Michel and the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. The Spanish Air Force has set up a camp at the base that, according to Sanchez, can accommodate up to 800 people.
According to the government in Madrid, it will serve as the “logistical center of Europe” from which “all Afghans who have worked for EU institutions” will be distributed to other countries. According to Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albaren, “almost all EU countries” have agreed to accept people from the camp. They should first receive a “temporary entry permit” into Spain before they are granted refugee status by the various countries in which they are supposed to settle.
Knaus: “The situation is different today”
In this context, the Austrian migration expert Gerald Knaus warned on Saturday on Ö1 not to stir up fear of a possible wave of refugees from Afghanistan.
The current situation cannot be compared with that of 2015, he emphasized in the Ö1 lunch journal. In 2015, millions of people were able to flee from Syria across the open border to Turkey, where most of them stayed, said Knaus. Only some of them have just made their way to Europe via the Aegean Sea. “Today the situation is radically different,” said the head of the Berlin-based European Stability Initiative (ESI). “The people from Afghanistan – as we can see in the dramatic pictures from Kabul – are not coming out.”