Greece demands EU help amid warnings ‘millions’ of migrants could flee from Afghanistan
Joe Biden's Afghanistan statement is ‘gobsmacking’ says TV host
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Migration minister Notis Mitarachi called on a common EU response to the crisis to prevent Greece from becoming the gateway of Europe for refugees. His intervention comes as EU foreign ministers hold emergency talks today on the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. Athens has also demanded that EU home affairs ministers discuss the issue tomorrow at a summit called amid growing fears of a new migrant crisis.
Mr Mitarachi said: “We are clearly saying that we will not and cannot be the gateway of Europe for the refugees and migrants who could try to come to the European Union.
“We cannot have millions of people leaving Afghanistan and coming to the European Union … and certainly not through Greece.”
Greece was on the frontline of the EU’s migrant crisis in 2015 when nearly a million people fled conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan for Europe.
Athens is increasingly nervous that the collapse of society in Afghanistan could lead to a repeat.
The Greek migration minister added: “The solution needs to be common, and it needs to be a European solution.”
But a united EU approach is far from agreement with stark differences already on full display over how to handle the crisis.
National governments have already failed to agree over whether to deport failed Afghan asylum-seekers.
French President Emmanuel Macron has also called for a European approach to tackle the threats to the EU’s security and external borders.
In a televised address last night, he called for a European plan to “ protect ourselves against major irregular migratory flows”.
Mr Macron said: “We must anticipate and protect ourselves against major irregular migratory flows that would endanger those who use them and feed trafficking of all kinds.
“Europe alone cannot bear the consequences of the current situation.”
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He has also discussed his plans with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Both EU leaders have held separate talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is seeking to create a diplomatic alliance to tackle the threat of the Taliban.
Mr Johnson told Mrs Merkel they must “use their bilateral and multilateral influence to encourage international partners to adopt a joined-up approach to the challenges ahead”.
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His official spokesman added: “The Prime Minister also stressed the need to agree shared international standards on human rights that any future Taliban government in Afghanistan will be held to by the international community.
“The Prime Minister outlined his intention to convene G7 leaders for a virtual meeting to discuss this at the earliest opportunity.”
And Mr Johnson told his French counterpart he wanted the international community to take a “unified approach” in recognising any future government in Afghanistan and preventing a humanitarian crisis.
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