Senator Airola to the EU: “In Afghanistan, let’s use the directive on temporary protection” 

Ursula von der Leyen, presidente della Commissione Europea

Alberto Airola*
August 31st 2021

I want to thank the doctors, soldiers, officials, women and men who in these dark days have saved  thousands of Afghans, friends and collaborators of European nations and of those nations who were  in Afghanistan. I thank the governments involved for the efforts done. 

I’m doing this with few, deep, moderate words, in order for these words not to be an  instrument of political propaganda but a sincere grief for those who have lost their lives trying to escape or in the exercise of their work or simply because they were bound by affective ties:  children, wives, husbands and relatives. 


I do it in a composed way because, after the commendation to those who have saved so many  human lives, we must be fully aware that the work is not finished, that in Afghanistan we have left  many, too many, human beings whose life is in danger. 

It’s because of this urgency that I appeal to you European Foreign Ministers and, above all, to you  European people in order for a further evacuation plan to be immediately implemented. The clock  hands run and mark seconds, eternal seconds for those who are afraid of dying from one moment  to the next. 

Europe cried for these families and their collaborators and carried out an uncoordinated evacuation.  We can act together with France, Germany and all other EU countries. 

The Italian President Mattarella, called for a united European intervention, searching for the best  tools available. 

Sergio Mattarella has been clear. He has said that what is happening in Kabul, like what happened  with the war in Syria, “has made the EU’s low incidence capacity clear… it is instead essential to  immediately ensure the real, effective, concrete instruments of foreign policy and common  defense…” 

The tools are there, also useful for overcoming the hypocritical position of those who despair but do not want Afghan refugees. And an  adequate instrument exists indeed – the Temporary Protection Directive 2001/55/CE: it establishes a “group protection status”, available in situations of crisis  generated by a massive flow of people fleeing a situation of great danger such as that which is currently  underway in Afghanistan. 

The Temporary Protection Directive also establishes an emergency mechanism to provide  immediate and temporary protection to displaced persons from third countries in cases where it is  impossible for them to return to their country of origin and also applies to situations of mass influx.  All these criteria are perfectly applicable to what is happening in Afghanistan these days. 

The directive does not require a unanimous vote of the Ministers of European countries

The proposal regarding this comes from a letter sent to the President Ursula Von Der Leyen to the  Vice President Joseph Borrel and to Yiva Johansson, EU Commissioner for Internal Affairs, first  signed by the Vice President of the European Parliament Fabio Massimo Castaldo, shared by more  than 70 transversal parliamentarians to the political forces and the national components which they  belong. 

The legislative instrument is here and I am sure there’s also the will to not leave women, men,  young people, children, families of Afghan collaborators to a certainly unfortunate fate. 

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission

The involvement and dialogue with our historical US and UK partners, is a must.

Europe could finally prove that it’s united, that it’s what we all dream of: a strong political Union  determined to drive a mission of immense humanitarian value, also caused by our withdrawal. 

I am aware that there has been work ongoing in a multilateral way and this is equally effective but what I  most personally hope for (and I think I speak for many), is the strengthening of a real European  action capable, in the face of inhuman pain, of firmly uniting the people of Europe. 

It would be a unique opportunity for Europe: to become a united and strong entity, capable of  imposing itself on a geopolitical level. Our nemesis and catharsis in the name of a common,  profound sense of humanity, respect for civil rights, our history and our founding values. 

 Alberto Airola
*Senator of the Republic
Foreign Affairs Commission of the Senate
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