Fifteen countries made the pledge, according to the EU Commission, but it remains unclear how they would be distributed.
Fifteen EU member states have committed to take in 40,000 additional Afghan refugees, the EU Commission announced after a meeting with interior ministers.
“We all share the willingness to move away from irregular arrivals towards regular migration,” EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johannson told a press conference on Thursday.
“I think this is an impressive act of solidarity,” she added.
A spokesperson for the Commission confirmed to TRT World that the countries willing to resettle the refugees are Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden. The AFP news agency reported that Germany will take in the bulk of the new arrivals, but the Commission was unable to confirm the quota each country had pledged on Friday.
“At this stage, we are not in a position to confirm a detailed breakdown per country. There are further procedures that need to take place until EU funds to co-finance the pledges are finally allocated and we can confirm definitive figures,” Commission spokesperson Laura Berard told TRT World.
Berard said the fifteen countries had committed to give protection to a total of 60,000 vulnerable refugees, including 40,000 Afghans.
“These efforts should be implemented in 2021-2022,” Berard added.
Earlier this year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, had asked the European Union to take in 42,500 Afghans over five years, but the 27-member bloc had failed to back the plea as some countries remained opposed.
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has recorded the arrival of 97,000 Afghans to neighbouring countries - mostly Pakistan, Iran and Uzbekistan - since the beginning of the year. As the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, it is feared that those numbers will continue to rise.
Afghanistan’s neighbours were already hosting the bulk of Afghanistan’s refugees, with 2.2 million registered in Iran and Pakistan, who have fled the country over the years. Iran and Pakistan are increasingly reluctant to take more in, and many refugees are stranded here in the hope of being resettled elsewhere.
Meanwhile inside Afghanistan, nearly 23 million people – 55 per cent of the population – face extreme levels of hunger, and nine million are at risk of famine, according to UN agencies.
Earlier this year, president Joe Biden said the US and its allies had evacuated more than 28,000 people from Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover of the country last August.