Extraordinary AFET and DEVE Committee meeting on Afghanistan | PRESS

After today´s extraordinary AFET and DEVE Committee meeting on Afghanistan, Reinhard Bütikofer MEP, AFET coordinator of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, says:

“EU High Representative Josep Borrell was realistic in his description of the political, strategic and moral severity of the Afghanistan disaster. At the same time, he demonstrated a great deal of helplessness as he wasn´t even sure whether Member States might be able to agree on the distribution of the 106 Afghans that had worked for the EU institutions and have been preliminarily brought to Spain. In the committee meeting, the question was asked but not answered why the capabilities of the European Union have not been utilized to organize a common evacuation mission.

Afghanistan was not lost militarily, it was lost politically. With all the arms that fell into the hands of the Taliban without any substantial fighting they are now better equipped than many EU Member States. We must reckon with the probability that they will take advantage of this strength to promote their extremist goals not just within the Afghan borders.

The disastrously mismanaged withdrawal of coalition forces will also create new tensions between the United Stated and the EU. It is neither plausible nor historically correct when President Biden now argues that nation building in Afghanistan had never been intended. The West must choose between honest self-examination of our Afghanistan policy over the last 20 years, and lame excuses that fool no-one but ourselves. Josep Borrell called the Afghanistan disaster the most severe international event since the Russian occupation of Crimea. That might even be an understatement. At any rate, the events of the last few weeks have weakened the US and Europe and the international order in many ways, and they are providing an encouragement to our rivals.

Is this a wake-up call for the European Union? No, the situation is much more dire. Without an unforeseen willingness of the EU Member States to take real steps towards a common foreign policy, the much acclaimed strategic autonomy and European sovereignty will continue to be empty phrases behind which the evaporation of European relevancy will continue to hide.”