Following the agreement between the EU and the Afghan government “Joint Way Forward on migration issues between Afghanistan and the EU”, the European Parliament will discuss commitments and its role in the agreement on 26 October.
On this occasion, PICUM together with over 25 organisations, has released a statement urging Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to ask concrete parliamentary questions to the European Commission and the European External Action Service on the implementation of the EU-Afghanistan agreement; to challenge the approach that migration control becomes a main objective in the EU’s relations with third countries and to analyze if such bilateral readmission agreements follow due process.
The EU-Afghanistan agreement includes a pledge of €13.6 billion which will also be used for measures to end violence and work towards lasting peace and reconciliation. However, the plan also states that Afghanistan will have to accept an unlimited number of deportees and Frontex will coordinate and organise the joint deportation flights. This agreement follows in the footsteps of a leaked memo sent to all EU member state Ambassadors on 2 March 2016 where the EU explains the current situation in Afghanistan and clarifies its intentions on increasing deportations. The memo states that the EU is “aware of the worsening security situation and threats to which people are exposed” and that Afghanistan is suffering “record levels of terrorist attacks and civilian casualties” but “despite this, more than 80,000 persons could potentially need to be returned in the near future.”
The statement expressed the organisations’ concern that the measure might violate principles of non-refoulement, protection against collective expulsions and the right to asylum. Moreover, there are concerns about the process of concluding such agreements as it circumvents the rules laid down in EU treaties and was negotiated covertly without debate at the European Parliament.