After the crisis in Afghanistan brought the EU’s security shortcomings to light, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs recommended an “initial entry force” of 5,000 troops to prepare the bloc for future emergencies better.
Josep Borrell told Corriere Della Sera that the EU must be more prepared in the future because the situation in Afghanistan showed apparent flaws.
He went on to say that the US is no longer willing to “fight for other people’s battles.”
The Afghan situation, according to Borrell, represents a shift in international relations, with the EU detaching itself from the US in concerns of foreign security.
The EU high representative stated, “This is not the moment for our withdrawal.”
“As Europeans, we must exploit this crisis to strengthen our strategic autonomy and learn to work together more effectively. We should be able to accomplish things on our own as Europeans.”
According to him, Borrell proposed an “Initial Entry Force” of 5,000 EU troops organised that could be quickly deployed on short notice.
“As Europeans, we have not been able to mobilise 6,000 soldiers around the Kabul airport to defend the area,” he said, comparing the EU’s inability to send troops as quickly as the US. The United States has been, but we haven’t.”
When asked how many asylum seekers sought to be evacuated to the EU and how many were turned away, Borrell stated that while several Afghans who had worked with EU member states had been welcomed, “the tens of thousands of individuals left behind is a concern.”
While the EU focused on evacuating Afghans who had worked directly with them, he admitted that hundreds of Afghans from civil society working to construct a democratic state could not be evacuated.
According to the EU’s high representative, the best way for member states to support Afghanistan is to provide financial aid directly to Afghanistan and neighbouring countries for refugee hosting.
Borrell also said that Europe’s absorption capability “had its limits.”