23 August 2021
Two internal EU documents on Afghanistan - a European Commission "draft action plan" for a "comprehensive migration partnership" from July, and a Council discussion paper from May - make clear the level of EU and member state engagement with Afghanistan on migration prior to the fall of the government to the Taliban.
Neither document contains any indication that the fall of the Afghan government to the Taliban was foreseen.
It might be expected that recent developments would lead to changes in migration policy, although six member states (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Austria, the Netherlands and Denmark) recently wrote to the Commission to demand that efforts be made to ensure that deportations to Afghanistan - currently effectively on hold - can continue.
That letter refers to an 8 July note from the Afghan government to the European Commission requesting a halt to deportations. The same date is stamped on the Council document containing the Commission's draft action plan for a "comprehensive migration partnership".
Included in the draft action plan is a section on "returns, readmission, reintegration," containing the following:
"Returns, readmission, reintegration
In response to reporting on the letter from six member states, the European Commission played down the role of EU institutions in deportations to Afghanistan, underlining that return decisions are the responsibility of the member states. Nevertheless, it must now be asked whether (and with whom) the Commission is seeking a "reinforced dialogue" on readmission and the implementation of the Joint Declaration.
See: NOTE from: Commission Services to: Delegations: Operationalization of the Pact - Action plans for strengthening comprehensive migration partnerships with priority countries of origin and transit - Draft Action Plan: Afghanistan (Council document 10472/21, 8 July 2021, LIMITE, pdf)
The document contains an annex setting out member state cooperation activities with Afghanistan and/or with Afghan refugees.
And: NOTE from: Presidency to: Delegations: Implementing the Pact - strengthening comprehensive migration partnerships with priority countries: - Afghanistan (Council document 8953/21, LIMITE, 25 May 2021, pdf)
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