Already impacted since 2015 by ongoing refugee flows, Greece said this week that a “European approach” was required to address the Afghanistan crisis and the imminent appeals for asylum and access to the EU.
“We must not relive the 2015 drama and its consequences… There are many different views on what happened or what should have happened in Afghanistan. There is definitely a need for a European response to the crisis,” said Greece’s Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi this week.
Speaking on public broadcaster ERT, Mitarachi said “the solution needs to be common and it needs to be a European solution”.
Greece is still struggling in the aftermath of the 2015 migration crisis with thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers fleeing from conflicts in the Middle East to the Greek islands of Lesvos, Samos, and Chios.
“We cannot have millions of people leaving Afghanistan and coming to the European Union … and certainly not through Greece,” Mitarachi said.
EU foreign ministers met on Tuesday to discuss the fall of Afghanistan to Taliban fighters and the impending backlash in migratory flows.
Member states continue to remain divided on the issue.
Mitarachi underlined that the EU was unprepared to handle a repeat of the 2015 migrant crisis when more than a million people, most from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, arrived seeking shelter.
“Absolutely not, the EU is not ready and does not have the capacity to handle another major migration crisis,” he said.
Greece has requested the issue be included on the agenda of an EU home affairs ministers’ meeting today.