Afghan exodus: let the neighbours sort it out

The EU's interior ministers failed to reach an agreement on binding conditions for taking in Afghan asylum seekers at their special summit last week. Despite the strong desire to reach a consensus, the EU Commission failed due to opposition from Austria, Hungary, Denmark and Slovenia, among others. Instead, Afghanistan's neighbouring countries are now to receive money for taking in refugees. Europe's press is incensed.

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Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

All empathy and no help

Corriere del Ticino criticises:

“Last week Turkey completed another 43 kilometers of the wall on its border with Iran. Poland has begun building an anti-migrant barrier on its border with Belarus. ... The idea is clear: to create an obstacle course to prevent the persecuted from reaching us. Yes, the persecuted, because at least here we need to be clear: Afghans are not 'economic refugees'. ... And as if barbed wire fences weren't enough, we're paying countries between 'us' and 'them' to get them out of Afghanistan but then 'park' them thousands of miles away. None of the European governments wants to be too hospitable, lest they provoke the scorn of the parties that have turned the fight against illegal immigration into a machine for creating votes.”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

Don't outsource the crisis

Helsingin Sanomat warns against letting Afghanistan's neighbouring countries bear the brunt of the crisis:

“Terrorism is a chronic danger that is reinforced by chaos. If international aid to Afghanistan ceases, drugs will become the Taliban's main source of income. We don't want that. There is also great concern about the stability of the entire region. The EU must support Afghanistan's neighbouring countries. ... Outsourcing security risks and the refugee crisis to Afghanistan's neighbouring countries is not a solution, even if this has become the EU's mantra. The Central Asian countries want neither refugees nor terrorists, which is understandable.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Cynical and oblivious to history

Süddeutsche Zeitung reminds readers of what happened in the refugee camps in Afghanistan's neighbouring countries in the early 1990s:

“All those who now declare that the neighbouring countries must be helped so they can take in the refugees are either oblivious to history or particularly cynical. The Taliban did not fall from the sky, they emerged and grew up in the nineties in the very refugee camps in neighbouring countries where Berlin and Brussels want to accommodate many refugees from Afghanistan today. What this means is self-evident.”

La Stampa (IT) /

A hypocritical and deadly deal

The EU is unscrupulously turning the rejection of refugees into a business model, writes La Stampa:

“The new profitable commodity on the global market of the third millennium is refugees. We pay those who keep them away from us by crowding them into warehouses and entrusting them to cruel guardians. The EU has a foreign policy, for sure! The Syrians in the 'Turkish model' seemed to be the exception, entrusted by official order to the unsympathetic but proverbial Sultan Erdoğan in exchange for billions of euros. The only difference now consists in the level of hypocrisy involved in continuing to define oneself as a force for enlightenment and the enlightened. This is a deadly deal, a criminal exchange that is advancing the decline of the continent; justified with the argument that it is to our immediate advantage.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Almost as chaotic as in 2015

Europe has learned nothing, Der Standard criticises:

“When EU politicians demand that endangered women and children be 'gotten out' to save them - above all the female judges - from the Taliban, it poses serious questions. They are right in principle, but how can it be done? ... Now ad hoc solutions are frantically being sought because nothing has been or is prepared. A billion euros is to go to the neighbouring states to keep refugees from making a beeline for Europe. ... There are some countries here and there that are willing to take in a few thousand Afghans who worked for the West. But there can be no talk of Europe having a coordinated, well thought-out and viable refugee policy. It's almost like in 2015.”

Mediafax (RO) /

No incentive for Romania

Mediafax explains why Romania is holding back on any promises to take in people from Afghanistan:

“Neither the Supreme Council of National Defence (CSAT) nor any Romanian official has named a refugee quota so far. Why should they? After all, Romania has no interest in making any promises before the EU takes a decision on the subject. In 2015, during the first big wave of refugees, Romania's accession to the Schengen area [which has still not been completed] served as an incentive to increase the refugee quota. Today not even this incentive exists any more, only Ursula von der Leyen's general promises to give a little more money to those countries that take in Afghans.”