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UN wants Europe to accept another 42,500 Afghans

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Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny - Reporter at The European Times News

The UN wants Europe to accept another 42,500 Afghans who have already fled the Taliban in neighboring countries. This was announced by EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ilva Johansson, who is hosting the High Level Forum for the Protection of Afghans at Risk in Brussels on Thursday.

The proposal was made by High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, who told the forum that 85,000 Afghans in neighboring and other countries would need humanitarian protection over the next five years, and that Europe was expected to accept half of them.

According to Johansson, it is possible for these people to be admitted to the EU, but this depends on the desire of the European members, which, in addition to them, must provide protection to people who are evacuated from the country, as well as to those in need of humanitarian protection.

Several countries, including Austria and Denmark, have already stated that they would like to help those in need of protection on the ground in the region, instead of being taken to Europe. Others, including Hungary and Poland, said they would not like to accept more migrants, even if they have the right to asylum.

The commissioner said 22,000 people evacuated from Afghanistan to Europe in August and September were already housed in various countries. They come in addition to the 300,000 Afghans who have had refugee status in the EU in previous years.

So far, the EU has not seen an increase in the number of illegal migrants from Afghanistan arriving in the EU, but about 4-6 million people are in the surrounding countries and 1.5 million of them are recognized as refugees.

However, Johansson declined to say whether European countries, which were called upon to announce refugee quotas they could accept in 2022, have committed to a number of migrants. Initially, the forum was expected to announce commitments, but now the commissioner has said that governments need more time to assess, without naming a deadline. At the same time, Johansson made it clear that the commitments made so far do not exceed 30,000 people, which is the EU budget. Brussels pays countries that accept resettlement of refugees on their territory.

“I would be happy if I had to deal with a budget increase,” Johansson said when asked how many Afghans the 27 countries will accept next year.

The EU commissioner said the resettlement decision was not as urgent as completing the evacuation of Afghan nationals working for European countries and civil society activists.

“It is not possible to evacuate all Afghans who need it, but we have a moral commitment to ensure the protection of people at risk,” the commissioner said.

She described the situation in Afghanistan as “very difficult” and said that half the population already needed humanitarian aid, and the risk of starvation and a complete collapse of the economy was real. According to the analysis of the European Commission, there is no money in the country, food prices have increased significantly, and a small part of the health system is functioning.

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