Informal videoconference of Development Ministers: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell after the meeting

(Source: EEAS)

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I have convened this urgent meeting with Ministers responsible for Development to address the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and to discuss how we can support the Afghan people together – Member States and European institutions – as Team Europe.

The humanitarian and socio-economic situation in Afghanistan is on the verge of collapse. According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, at least 1 million children are at risk of dying this winter of cold and hunger – 1 million -, unless they get the appropriate assistance. We cannot ‘wait and see’. We need to act, and act quickly.

Today, the Ministers have discussed concrete ways to increase the European Union’s support to the Afghan people, in particular the delivery of basic services, and strengthening the resilience of the Afghan society.

Yes, we have already increased our humanitarian assistance, but it is not enough to avert famine and a major humanitarian crisis. It is crucial to complement it with the delivery of what we can call ‘humanitarian plus aid’ in direct support of the population.

This does not mean that the five benchmarks that were agreed by the Council are not relevant anymore. On the contrary, they remain valid and they must be fully met before regular development cooperation can resume.

So, today, we agreed on having a calibrated approach to give direct support to the Afghan population in order to prevent this humanitarian catastrophe while, certainly, not recognising the Taliban. We will deliver the aid, through our multilateral partners, but respecting our agreed principles of engagement.

I think that the discussion today has been very useful and very timely and it will also be used to feed into the European Union’s participation at the Extraordinary G20 Leaders meeting on Afghanistan that will take place tomorrow.

I thank my colleagues Ministers for participating in this meeting and for being so constructive.

Link to the video:

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