The EU must stop shirking its responsibilities towards migrants, especially with the expected influx since the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, the European Parliament’s president said on Wednesday.
David Sassoli was speaking a day after European Union interior ministers meeting in Brussels said they were counting on Afghanistan’s neighbors to keep refugees in the region so they did not flock to Europe.
“We cannot pretend that Afghanistan is not our business because we participated in that mission,” he told a conference on the future of Europe at the annual strategic forum in Bled, Slovenia.
Europe needed to speak with one voice on foreign and security policy if it is to maintain credibility both at home and abroad, Sassoli said.
The collapse of the government in Kabul after two decades of US-led military intervention has rekindled fears of a migration crisis similar to that the EU faced in 2015.
“We are very disappointed indeed with the conclusions of the internal affairs council yesterday,” he said, highlighting the positive response to the crisis in Afghanistan from many non-EU states.
“We need a strong and common voice on the international scene,” he said.
EU defense and foreign affairs ministers are to meet on Thursday and Friday in Slovenia, which holds the six-monthly presidency of the EU.
The reception of migrants is a highly sensitive subject in the EU, which cannot agree on how to reform its asylum system.
Hungary’s nationalist prime minister, present at the same round table, rejected the idea of a unified approach because the gaps between member states on the issue were unbridgeable.
The only way to avoid destroying the unity of the EU “is to give all the rights back to the nation state in relation to migration” said Viktor Orban.
“Those migrants who are coming now are all Muslims, and changing the composition of our continent,” he said. “It’s a challenge to our cultural Christian heritage.”
Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn on Tuesday said that European migration policy is going “in the wrong direction,” and called on the EU to “establish resettlement programs” so as to “give hope to people who are being persecuted.”