EU Prez to Member States: Host Afghan Migrants and Get Cash

MADRID, SPAIN - AUGUST 21: President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen speaks during a press conference after a tour around the temporary reception facilities for Afghan refugees in Torrejon Air Base on August 21, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. Torrejon Air Base is a hub for European citizens …
Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has promised financial incentives to European Union member states who take in refugees and asylum seekers from Afghanistan.

President Von der Leyen made the announcement after a visit to a reception centre for Afghan EU employees at the Torrejon Air Base in Spain at the weekend and called on member states to take in refugees from the country which recently fell to the Taliban.

“I call on all states that have participated in the missions in Afghanistan, Europeans and others, to allocate sufficient reception quotas so that collectively we can come to the aid of those in need of protection,” Von der Leyen said, 20 Minutes reports.

“The Commission is ready to consider the necessary budgetary means to support EU Member States that will offer to help refugees settle on their territory,” she added.

According to 20 Minutes, it is not clear how many EU member states have agreed to take in Afghan refugees and which have outright refused the offer.

While many countries have aimed at evacuating thousands of Afghans and EU nationals from the airport in Kabul, some aeroplanes have left the airport nearly completely empty.

A German Luftwaffe A-400M transport aircraft, which can seat up to 200 people, transported just seven from Kabul last week, while UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer cited NGO reports claiming that UK aircraft had also left Kabul nearly empty.

UK Defence Minister Ben Wallace later countered the claim from the opposition leader saying, “None of our planes are leaving empty. I can’t vouch for other nations, but our planes never leave empty. If we have spaces on them, we offer them up for other nations. We took out some NATO interpreters recently, we’ve taken out some people from other [European states].”

Offering cash to house migrants is not a new policy for the European Union. The bloc has spent billions of euros as a part of the migration deal with Turkey since it was enacted in 2016 and earlier this year offered the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan €3 billion (£2.5 billion/$3.6 billion) more.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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