Thursday, August 19, 2021
Seehofer: We have to help all local staff
Interior Minister Seehofer sees Germany as having an obligation to help the local staff in Afghanistan. He expressly refers to the possibilities of the quick procedures. He is also ready to take a certain risk. In extreme cases, he also pleads for a German solo effort.
Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer has expressly committed to accepting local Afghan workers and their families. “It is completely undisputed that the local staff and their family members should come to Germany and that there is also a moral responsibility for this,” he said after his appearance in the interior committee of the Bundestag in Berlin. “The Western community failed in Afghanistan,” he said. “If the Western community and the European Union, which I would particularly like to mention here, also fail in dealing with the consequences, then we would have a huge problem of trust in our community of values.”
“We must bring the local staff and the groups that are particularly worthy of protection to Europe and, if other Europeans do not participate, to Germany,” he said. “If we fail here, especially together with the European Union, it would be the second great failure of the Western community.”
At the same time, he emphasized the possibility of carrying out visa procedures and security checks only after the person concerned has entered the country. Seehofer admitted that this involved a certain security risk, but emphasized: “If you want a solution here, you have to take this risk.” In addition, the necessary security check is not a matter of days or weeks, but just a matter of seconds.
At the same time, he rejected allegations that his department had delayed the admission of Afghan local staff due to bureaucratic requirements. His ministry had already made it clear in June that “if the standard procedure is not possible, the visa can only be issued after entering Germany,” he said. This then also applies to the necessary security check.
When it comes to the question of adult children, he has always advocated a flexible approach so as not to tear families apart. In the current situation it is right “that we pull out all the stops” so that local workers still in Afghanistan and other endangered people can “also come to the airport and then be flown out”.
Seehofer attributed the chaos that has now arisen and the problems with the emigration of these people from Afghanistan primarily to false assumptions regarding the speed of developments in Afghanistan. “What has to be discussed is the assessment of the situation,” said the interior minister. “The fact that the assessment of the situation then changed so quickly is the problem,” he emphasized. But he was not responsible for this.
Deportations are only suspended
Seehofer also supported the efforts to take in other “persons worthy of protection” in Germany or other European countries in addition to the local staff. This affects development aid employees, women at risk or journalists who have worked for German media. “With this we are not turning migration policy upside down,” he clarified. Rather, he hopes that the efforts to get these people to the airport will be successful.
Seehofer again refused a general ban on deportation to Afghanistan. These have only been temporarily suspended so far. “We’ll leave it to the decision now,” he said simply. However, he does not believe in deportation centers for Afghan refugees in other states in the region, as proposed in other European countries.