'It's Europe's hub': EU chiefs to visit Afghan evacuation centre in Spain

AFP - [email protected] • 20 Aug, 2021 Updated Fri 20 Aug 2021 14:00 CEST
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Red Cross volunteers talk with Afghan nationals upon their arrival onboard a first Spanish Air Force Airbus A400M carrying "just over 50 people" on board, including Spaniards who still remained in Afghanistan as well as the Afghans and their families who collaborated with Spain, at the Torrejon de Ardoz air base, 30 km away from Madrid, early on August 19, 2021. - Afghans and foreigners have been desperately trying to flee the country since the Taliban's comeback, with the United States and other nations stepping up evacuation airlifts from Kabul. (Photo by Belen Diaz / AFP)

The EU's two top officials will visit a reception centre in Spain on Saturday for Afghan refugees who worked for the bloc, Spain's foreign minister said.


Spain set up the centre at a military base at Torrejón de Ardoz to care for refugees who have been airlifted to the European Union until they are relocated to other countries of the bloc.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel will visit the centre along with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares told Ser radio.


The centre can house around 1,000 people who will then be sent to other European Union member states, he added.

"It is a hub, they arrive in Spain and from here they will go to other nations who offer them visas," the minister said.

"It is Europe's logistics centre because all Afghans who worked with various EU institutions in recent years will pass through there."

The Spanish foreign ministry announced Monday that Spain had agreed to be the "entry point in the EU" for Afghan refugees who worked for both the EU and NATO.



AFP 2021/08/20 14:00

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