Saturday

10th Dec 2016

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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).

Children's rights at risk in EU hotspots

Lack of lawyers and other staff has caused logjams on asylum claims, which particularly hurt children, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency told MEPs.

News in Brief

  1. Council of Europe critical of Turkey emergency laws
  2. Italian opposition presses for anti-euro referendum
  3. Danish MP wants warning shots fired to deter migrants
  4. Defected Turkish officers to remain in Greece
  5. Most child asylum seekers are adults, says Denmark
  6. No school for children of 'illegal' migrants, says Le Pen
  7. Ombudsman slams EU Commission on tobacco lobbying
  8. McDonald's moves fiscal HQ to UK following tax probe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Use Bioenergy Coming From Forests in a Sustainable Way?
  2. Counter BalanceReport Reveals Corrupt but Legal Practices in Development Finance
  3. Swedish EnterprisesMEPs and Business Representatives Debated on the Future of the EU at the Winter Mingle
  4. ACCASets Out Fifty Key Factors in the Public Sector Accountants Need to Prepare for
  5. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  6. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  7. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  9. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  10. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  11. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  12. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First