September 4, 2021
The Afghanistan crisis could be a spur for the EU to agree on a common approach to migration and asylum, European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas suggested in an interview published Saturday.
“I see this as the moment to agree on a common European migration and asylum policy, as we proposed in the EU Commission in September,” Schinas, whose portfolio includes migration, told the Austrian newspaper Wiener Zeitung.
He spoke amid warnings that hundreds of thousands of Afghans could flee the country in the coming months.
Six years on from the crisis sparked by the Syrian civil war when over a million people reached Europe, the EU still lacks a unified refugee plan.
Schinas said the Commission’s proposed migration pact is stalling because of difficulties getting EU countries to agree on harmonizing asylum rules and sharing the intake of migrants fairly.
He said the period after the French election in May 2022 would be a good time to forge ahead. Managing to agree on a common approach would lower support for populists on the left and right, he contended.
Schinas also said the EU is better prepared for a migrant crisis than it was in 2015 and added that national-level migration policies are increasingly converging.
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The plan ‘does not mean recognition,’ but the EU does need to liaise with the Taliban on critical issues.