EU home affairs ministers to discuss situation in Afghanistan
The Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU has called an extraordinary meeting of home affairs ministers on Tuesday 31 August. Finland will be represented by Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo. The topics on the agenda will be the migratory and security impacts of the situation in Afghanistan.
“The situation in Afghanistan is cause for great concern, and we are monitoring the development of the situation closely. It’s important to find a common European approach to responding to the situation,” says Minister Ohisalo.
Reception of quota refugees is a way to help those most in need
The fall of the government supported by the international community and the rapidly deteriorating security situation have put Afghanistan in the international spotlight. In the first phase, all Member States have been focusing on the evacuation from Kabul of Afghans who cooperated with the EU and the Member States.
In the initial discussions at the EU level, it has also been considered urgent to intensify cooperation with Afghanistan's neighbouring countries so that they can be effectively supported in the reception of migrants. Supporting legal migration pathways is an important part of the EU's cooperation with third countries. This also includes the resettlement of refugees to EU Member States, to which the European Commission has already promised to provide funding.
“Reception of quota refugees is one of the most effective ways to help those most in need. Finland is considering doubling the refugee quota for next year,” Ohisalo says.
Currently, Finland’s annual refugee quota is 1,050. For example, people who have fled war or persecution and are proposed for resettlement by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) are selected as quota refugees.
The situation in Afghanistan is likely to also affect migration to Europe, and many EU Member States already have significant Afghan communities. About 7,000 Afghan citizens live in Finland.
Impact on EU security will also be monitored
It is estimated that the increase in migration to Europe will also activate facilitators of illegal entry and related criminal groups. Unauthorised entry into the Schengen area is anticipated and prevented through the control of the EU's external borders. At the same time, trafficking in human beings and the access of international organised crime and terrorist suspects to the Schengen area will be combated.
“The critical security situation in Afghanistan is also reflected outside the country's borders. It’s important to monitor its effects, for example on the threat of terrorism, both in Afghanistan's neighbouring regions and in the EU,” Minister Ohisalo says.
Laura Yli-Vakkuri, Director General, tel. +358 295 488 250, [email protected]
Milja Henttonen, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 599 3094, [email protected]nk.fi (requests for interviews with Minister Ohisalo)