EU tells its states to screen Afghan refugees as security concerns grow for bloc
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The European Union’s top home affairs official said national authorities must act to bolster the bloc’s security. EU commissioner Ylva Johansson made the intervention shortly before a terror attack left dozens dead outside Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport. She said EU countries should use “the right kind of scanning of people for security reasons” when they arrive in the bloc.
“We have the tools, but we need to make sure that all member states agree to use them in the same way,” she added.
The European Commission last year sparked fury after it proposed screening anyone coming into Europe.
Eurocrats proposed using the Eurodac migration database as part of a mandatory screening and registration process.
But this was slammed, with critics accusing the bloc of pushing mass surveillance of asylum seekers.
Ms Johansson said: “We should avoid people turning up at our external borders. But it’s important that we have the screening and security, that we are prepared for that.”
European countries have already evacuated thousands of Afghans after the Taliban takeover with officials expecting thousands more to make their own way to the bloc.
EU home affairs ministers are set to meet on Tuesday to discuss their future plans for arrivals from Afghanistan.
Belgium and Germany have already wrapped up their evacuation schemes and France is expected to cease flights in the coming days.
Member states are now preparing themselves for what could be a repeat of the 2015 migration crisis, during which almost a million people arrived in the bloc from Syria.
Plans include building anti-migrant fences to deter and stop people from entering.
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Ms Johansson said: “Member states are obliged to protect their external borders, and member states are best placed to decide how to do it.
“Of course, they need to comply with fundamental rights… but sometimes they might need a fence.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also readying the country to welcome thousands more Afghan refugees fleeing from the Taliban.
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He said 15,000 people had already been rescued from the terror group and flown to Britain.
Mr Johnson said: “There’s been nothing like it in terms of speed and scale in our lifetimes, certainly in my memory.
“That’s equivalent to a town the size of Beaconsfield or Prestwick or Abergavenny or Armagh and obviously there’s a huge amount of work now going on to make sure that we find homes, find ways of integrating those people into this country.
“But we owe them a debt, and they’re people who looked after our armed forces, helped for the 20 years of the UK’s engagement in Afghanistan. It’s absolutely the right thing to do.”
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