Afghanistan: Europeans are trying to anticipate the migration crisis

Streets crowded with cars, an airport stormed by thousands of Afghans desperately seeking to flee … The images of Kabul, passed this Monday under Taliban control, testify to the panic that seized many Afghans fearing the exactions and reprisals of the new power.

Taken aback, the Europeans initially reacted in dispersed order, each country mobilizing its own means to evacuate its diplomatic staff, its nationals but also the many Afghans who accompanied the foreign forces.

Specter of the migration crisis of 2015 Many are seeking to flee the country, making the migration issue a priority on the European agenda. It will require a lot of skill from the Twenty-Seven, torn between two very different objectives. One, moral and humanitarian, is to offer asylum to vulnerable populations. The other, highly political, is to avoid a repeat of the scenario of 84, when the Syrian crisis had provoked a massive influx of migrants to the European Union, then a major political crisis in Europe.

It is this difficult balance that the Commission seeks to achieve. “We are working on a comprehensive approach to deal with the current crisis in Afghanistan, which will need to include the need to provide safe and legal routes to vulnerable people while addressing the risks of irregular migration and ensuring the management of our borders ”, summed up the spokesperson for the European Commission, Christian Wigand.

In Germany, the electoral context reinforces the sensitivity of the subject. The leader of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU), Armin Laschet, called for “not to send the signal that Germany can welcome all those who need it” and to focus on “humanitarian aid on site, at the difference of 2015 ”. In Greece, a country at the forefront of the influx of migrants, Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said he wanted to “avoid any pressure similar to that which we have faced in previous years, in similar crises” .

Franco-German initiative In his speech on Monday evening, Emmanuel Macron, on the one hand, considered that the he reception of Afghans who had worked for France was a matter of “duty” and “dignity” and that Paris would continue to “do its duty to protect those who are in danger”. But he also promised a Franco-German initiative aimed at combating illegal migratory flows , in particular by strengthening cooperation with transit countries (Turkey, Pakistan , Iran). This therefore excludes asylum seekers. In France, 84 on average% of Afghans who have applied for asylum in recent years have had their application accepted.

Finally , a long-term geostrategic question arises for Europeans. The Afghan debacle appears to be the most glaring symptom of the United States’ disengagement from areas which are no longer in their immediate strategic interest. Enough to strengthen the voice of those who, like France, hammer home the urgency of real strategic autonomy for the European Union. On Tuesday evening, European Union representative Josep Borrell announced that the 27 were going to have to “talk to the Taliban.”