Greece slams EU over lack of leadership in Afghan refugee crisis ‘Can’t just follow US!’

Afghanistan: EU cannot ‘just follow America’ says Greek MP

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Former Greek Foreign Minister Georgios Katrougalos has blasted the European Union for not taking an “autonomous” stance on Afghanistan to that of the United States amid concerns over a new influx of refugees heading for Greece. Mr Katrougalos has slammed Europe for simply “following the Americans” on issues relating to foreign policy, he added that Brussels has failed to position the EU as an “international global player” on the issues of security and migration.

Mr Katrougalos told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Europe has not responded yet, first of all, we been out of any kind of discussion with our American partners regarding their decision.

He continued: “To be frank European Union till now has not adopted until now any kind of autonomous foreign policy.

“We should do that we can’t just follow the Americans in everything they are doing.”

Challenged over the ability of the EU to operate separate from the US, Mr Katrougalos said: “It should have been one of the main issues that Europe should and will be an autonomous role. 

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“First of all for becoming an international global player, now the European Union is not.

“We are an economic giant but on issues of foreign policy clearly we do not play this role.

“This is also going to be a test on how Europe can also show to the world that we can act also morally.”

The comments come a week after Greece’s Migration minister Notis Mitarachi demanded the EU agreed on a strategy to prevent Greece from becoming the point of entry for migrants fleeing chaos in Afghanistan.

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Mr Mitarachi said: “We are clearly saying that we will not and cannot be the gateway of Europe for the refugees and migrants who could try to come to the European Union.

“We cannot have millions of people leaving Afghanistan and coming to the European Union … and certainly not through Greece.”

He added: “The solution needs to be common, and it needs to be a European solution.”

Meanwhile, in the UK, the Government’s pledge to welcome in as many as 20,000 Afghan refugees has come under fire.

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The editor of the Spectator Fraser Nelson told the BBC: “The Government has mentioned 20,000. I don’t think that’s a particularly high figure.

“There is more we can do. Right now there are 2.5 million displaced people, so taking 20,000 is not very much.

“I really hope the UK will discharge the many promises we made.”

His criticisms were echoed by former Shadow Home Secretary Dianne Abbot who told  BBC Any Questions: “Are we doing enough? No, we are not.”

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