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EU seeks united front on handling Afghan migrants

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“We need to avoid a humanitarian crisis, we need to avoid a migratory crisis, and we need to avoid security threats,” the EU commissioner for home affairs, Ylva Johansson said ahead of a meeting of the EU’s 27 interior ministers in Brussels.

“But then we need to act now and not wait until we have big flows of people at our external borders or until we have terrorist organisations being stronger,” she added.

“Everybody would like to avoid a situation like in 2015, and we can avoid it, we are much better prepared, and we can reach out to do things already now,” Johansson, a former Swedish minister, said. Member states say they are “determined to act jointly to prevent the return of large-scale illegal and uncontrolled migration movements,” as in 2015 when more than a million migrants mostly fleeing the war in Syria arrived in Europe.

In 2016, Turkey inked a deal with the EU to stem the flow of migrants to Europe by hosting millions of arrivals in return for some incentives including financial assistance.

The EU may yet seek to do the same with Afghanistan’s neighbours, but senior officials say the priority is stabilising to situation inside the country.

Member states are concerned about the risk of terrorism, promising to “do their utmost to ensure that the situation in Afghanistan does not lead to new security risks for EU citizens.”


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