Borrell Says EU Can Prevent Migration Crisis by Averting Afghanistan's Economic Collapse
15:34 GMT 11.10.2021 (Updated: 08:11 GMT 06.08.2022)
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The EU needs to work toward preventing a new European refugee crisis by averting the possible economic collapse of Afghanistan without recognising the Taliban's* interim government, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told Spanish newspaper El Pais.
"We thought we would have an acute [migration] crisis because of Afghanistan, but it has not yet happened. And it will not happen if we prevent the economic collapse of the country. 75% of the Afghan budget comes from foreign transfers. And now they are all frozen. Economic collapse can occur. We have to prevent it, without recognising or supporting the government as such", Borrell said in an interview, published on Monday.
The politician added that although the EU cannot give money to Afghanistan
directly, since several ministers of the interim government are on the US terrorist list, member states can do so through the UN agencies working in the country.
"If we want girls to go to schools, there must be schools first", Borrell said, explaining his position.
The EU foreign policy chief also stressed that the bloc is particularly concerned about the issue of Afghan refugees since migration is not only a huge problem for the Union but also one of the biggest dividing forces within the integration association.
Tensions Between Washington and Brussels
Despite differences in the policies of US President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump, Washington still does not take into account the opinion of the European Union, the diplomat added.
"No doubt. But we want to believe that there has been no bad faith", Borrell said, commenting on the assertion that the US does not take into account the opinion of the European allies when making important decisions.
He also stressed that political relations between the parties must be balanced.
"Russia wants Nord Stream 2 to launch. It takes advantage of the situation to bring water to its mill ... This attitude is a part of the political pressure game. We still need Russian gas and we will probably need more than under contract", Borrell stated."We are allies. The allies talk to each other, they consult each other. The opposite is not a stable alliance", Borrell said.
The politician added that his main goal is to ensure that the EU will promote its interests and become more proactive.
Regarding the newly-formed AUKUS defence alliance, he stated that he had more questions for the US than for Australia.
"Australia is under intense pressure from China and entered into negotiations with the US... I am not condoning Australia's decision, I think they were wrong in not relying on us, but I am trying to explain why they did that. What has no explanation is that the US formed a defensive alliance with Britain without our knowledge or participation. The serious problem is not with Australia, but with the US", Borrell said.
When asked if the UK is a reliable partner, the politician replied that London showed no desire to cooperate in the field of security and defence after Brexit.
Borell also noted that current energy pricing needs a revision to take into account the drive toward renewables, nuclear power phase-out and decarbonisation.
"It is difficult to justify some elements of the current model, which was created when renewables were not used, when nuclear energy was seen as an option to increase production and when decarbonization was not a priority goal and there were no gas tensions, like right now. It would be wise to rethink the model and see if it suits the circumstances", Borrell said in an interview, published on Monday.
Such changes, however, require time and quick thinking. The challenge is that energy prices are set by gas suppliers. In addition, financial speculation is often at play. According to Borrell, countries should take regulatory measures to limit such conditions.
When asked about Nord Stream 2, the official asserted that Russia is using the gas situation
to exert political pressure.
"Russia wants Nord Stream 2 to launch. It takes advantage of the situation to bring water to its mill ... This attitude is a part of the political pressure game. We still need Russian gas and we will probably need more than under contract", Borrell stated.
Talks on gas supplies should be held at an EU level since the issue is a geopolitical one, the foreign policy chief reiterated.
Gas prices surged to a record high
in September as global demand rose amid economic recovery from months of lockdowns. With winter approaching, the European Union has been struggling to fill its gas reserves.
* Taliban is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other countries