The Slovenia Times

Hojs says Asselborn's statement on Slovenia's stance on Afghanistan inappropriate


Brussels - Slovenia does not support opening humanitarian corridors, said Interior Minister Aleš Hojs while in Brussels on Tuesday, adding no one wanted a repeat of the 2015 migration crisis. He considers Luxembourgian Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn's statements criticising Slovenia's stance on helping Afghanistan inappropriate.

Slovenia has been clear in saying that it does not support opening humanitarian corridors to Afghanistan at the moment, Hojs said on arrival at an emergency meeting of EU home affairs ministers, which he chairs.

When it comes to taking in vulnerable groups from Afghanistan, the Slovenian government has decided it will cooperate in resettlement efforts involving Afghan nationals who had helped the EU or NATO and are currently in Spain, Hojs said.

He ruled out the possibility of any other kind of resettlement or taking in people en masse, "especially not those men who instead of protecting their wives, children and vulnerable groups at home are fleeing the country in their prime".

Earlier Asselborn told the German newspaper Die Welt he was in favour of the EU welcoming tens of thousands of Afghan refugees. He also called on member states to oppose Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and stand up for EU values, saying the two "are rejecting solidarity with the battered Afghan nation".

Hojs said that if these statements were true, they were "quite inappropriate".

The Luxembourgian foreign minister, who is also responsible for immigration and asylum, is participating in today's ministerial. In his doorstep statement, he said his criticism had targeted Kurz and Janša's stance against Europe taking in any refugees at all. Given the situation, this is wrong, he said.

According to unofficial sources, Luxembourg is the only member state opposing a joint statement of the ministers at today's meeting.

Commenting on this, Hojs said he would probably meet Asselborn ahead of the meeting. Asselborn is "one of those somehow still having doubts about the adoption of such a statement".

Asselborn meanwhile said: "This is the first time in 17 years that I do not agree with the EU presidency's statement." He added that he refused to show support because he was convinced the EU could play a bigger part in these "very dramatic circumstances in Afghanistan" and take in people who are in mortal danger.

Slovenia has done its best to see the statement through, but one could not say with certainty that it will be signed after the meeting, Hojs said.

The meeting is dedicated to the developments in Afghanistan, particularly their impact on potential migration and security trends involving the EU and efforts to find solutions to respond to the situation. The ministers will not discuss specific resettlement figures today, Hojs said.


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