Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis: The European Union must be ready to tackle migration crises and to provide safeguards for the EU’s effective response to hybrid threats
On 2 September, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis discussed the situation in Afghanistan at an informal meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers (Gymnich) in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana together with other foreign affairs ministers of the European Union and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. The meeting discussed tense security and political situation in Afghanistan, a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian and economic situation, as well as security and migration threats facing the whole region.
EU foreign affairs ministers discussed the EU’s possible greater engagement, joint actions with transatlantic allies and partners in the region aimed at managing threats to the region's security and stability arising from Afghanistan.
“It is important to take advantage of this moment and to strengthen our ties with transatlantic partners. The Afghan crisis should not divide us. On the contrary, it must bring us together. We should strengthen our cooperation and tackle future challenges together,” said Landsbergis.
The participants of the meeting noted that the EU could be facing a massive influx of Afghan refugees in the near future, if serious human rights violations were to occur in the country or if a threat of civil war was to arise.
“At present, preventing/ending a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the region and preventing migration are our most important goal. Thus, the international community needs to provide assistance to the states of the region. Of course, we need to learn lessons from Afghanistan, but, in this tense situation, we also must look to the future. The European Union must agree on the parameters of Afghanistan’s policies, as well as on the principles for functioning together with our transatlantic partners and the international community,” said Landsbergis.
According to the Foreign Minister, we must cautiously evaluate the role of China and Russia in resolving the Afghan crisis. The authoritarian states that are unfriendly to Europe may want to exploit the crisis for their own purposes and seek to undermine the role of the West.
“Lithuania already has experienced that undemocratic European states are using hybrid means to exert pressure on Lithuania and the EU as a whole. We have to agree unanimously on measures to prevent irregular migration. In addition, we need to have built-in necessary safeguards to be able to effectively respond to hybrid threats at the level of the European Union,” said the Foreign Minister.
On 31 August 2021, the last American troops withdrew from Afghanistan, as the United States ended 20 years of war in the country. In the last days, over 100,000 vulnerable Afghan and foreign citizens were evacuated from Kabul. 181 Afghans were flown to Lithuania.