In the debate over accepting refugees from Afghanistan, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn called on Slovenia and Austria to oppose the EU presidency. “I hope there will be resistance against Mr. Kurz of Austria and Mr. Jansa of Slovenia, who are clearly and steadfastly in line with Urban, Salvini and Le Pen,” Asselborn told Welt (Tuesday). Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) dismissed the criticism as “ridiculous”.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and the right-wing populist politicians in Italy and France, Matteo Salvini and Marine Le Pen, will show “direct human solidarity in this very tragic moment with the suffering people of Afghanistan,” said the Social Democrat In Luxembourg, who is also the migration minister, ahead of the special meeting of EU interior ministers on Tuesday. “You lose the quality of being European,” the senior European foreign minister told German newspaper “Die Welt”. Asselborn wanted the EU to provide “40,000 to 50,000 resettlement places for Afghan refugees”.
Foreign Minister Schallenberg responded with sharp criticism and accused Asselborn of “cheap populism”. Schallenberg said Kurz’s criticism was “simply absurd,” referring to the fact that Austria is home to the fourth largest Afghani community per capita worldwide and the second largest within the European Union. “It would be welcome if Asselborn showed a similar level of solidarity and humanity. Therefore, Luxembourg would have to take in six times as many Afghans as the current ones. Then you might be in a position to advise,” he said. Tuesday in a statement submitted to the APA.
Luxembourg is warmly invited to join Austria. “Until then,” said the foreign minister, “si tacuisses, philus mansisses” (if I had remained silent, I would have remained a philosopher, note). In other words: Asselborn is destroying her goodwill by making a statement. Schallenberg criticized the “misuse of the tragic situation in Afghanistan for Cheap populism and blindly repeating the mistakes of 2015 and 2016 don’t make you a good European.”
A similar statement was made by Interior Minister Karl Nehamer (ÖVP). “Here, Mr. Asselborn loses his reputation because it will be important to have fact-based discussions here,” Nahamer said before a special meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels. Austria is a leading country in the European Union when it comes to accepting refugees from Afghanistan.
FPÖ Chairman Herbert Kekel also strongly criticized Asselborn’s statement. “Europe is not a sink for all the troubled countries in the world,” he said in a radio broadcast. “Austria has paid more than its contribution to accepting illegal immigrants.” “If Mr. Asselborn wants to bring the Afghans into the country, he can take them to Luxembourg.” Kikel asks Schallenberg to “organise this through diplomatic channels.”
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