Thursday

18th Apr 2019

EU mulls 'migrant' terminal at Kabul airport

  • Kabul's international airport (Photo: UR-SDV)

The EU and Afghanistan are looking into creating a new terminal at Kabul's airport designed specifically for migrants rejected by EU states.

The plan is part of a broader deal on stepping up the returns of rejected asylum seekers from the EU to Afghanistan signed over the weekend.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The deal, made public on Monday (4 October), says "both sides will explore the possibility to build a dedicated terminal for return in Kabul airport".

The agreement intends to quickly dispatch Afghan nationals with no legal rights back to Afghanistan despite the overall lack of security in the war-torn country.

The EU will cover all travel costs and help finance an Afghan-led campaign to tell people not to make the journey.

But the return agreement appears to contradict an internal document from the European Council, representing member states, which earlier this year said security is actually getting worse in Afghanistan.

"Due to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, as well as pressure on Afghans in Pakistan and Iran, there is a high risk of further migratory flows to Europe," noted the internal document.

Despite the spiralling insecurity, the EU and member states want to send as many people back as possible although a limit of 50 Afghans per chartered flight has been imposed for the six months of the agreement.

It also opens the possibility of mistakes. In case they send the wrong person, they agreed to take them back to Europe. But details have yet to sorted.

Instead, the agreement notes that "any person readmitted by Afghanistan who, it later emerges, is not of Afghan nationality" will be returned to Europe.

The return agreement was made in the lead up to a two-day summit in Brussels on Afghanistan. On Tuesday, the two sides discussed how to empower women in the country.

Afghans were the second largest group of asylum seekers that entered the EU last year. Some 213,000 made the journey, many of them unaccompanied minors.

The Geneva-based International Organisation for Migration says the top three countries of origin of arrivals so far this year are Syria (78,572), Afghanistan (40,791) and Iraq (25,092).

Analysis

Bell tolls for EU asylum reforms

The cornerstone the EU's asylum reforms referred to by the shorthand as 'Dublin' could end up in the scrapheap following the European elections in May.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us