More EU states signal their intention to withdraw from UN migration pact

The non-binding UN migration pact is facing yet another major blow as Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Croatia signalled their intention to not sign the global agreement in December 2018 in Morocco. The four European states follow in the footsteps of the United States, Hungary, and Austria.

These countries say the global pact blurs the boundary between regular and irregular migration, and it also puts sovereignty under question. However, supporters of the pact argue that it is non-binding and does not encourage migration, nor does it aim to stop it. UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák said “it will not impose and it fully respects the sovereignty of states.”

On 12 November 2018, Bulgarian coalition government announced that it will not join the global pact, arguing that it “endangers national interests.” “The position of the Bulgarian government will be not to join the United Nations’ global pact on migration,” the deputy leader of the main ruling centre-right GERB party, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, said after a meeting of coalition chiefs.

The Czech Republic also voted not to sign the global accord, a government source told Reuters. “The Czech Republic has long favoured the principle of separating legal and illegal migration,” said Deputy Prime Minister Richard Brabec at a news conference. “That is what the Czech Republic’s and other European countries’ suggestions aimed for. The final text does not reflect those proposals.”

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, said it is “very likely” his country will back out from the global compact. “Our sovereign principles on securing our borders and controlling migration flows are absolutely the priority for us,” he said.

On the EURACTIV Network, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović announced that she would not sign the global agreement, even if her government still appears willing to move ahead.

Austria and Hungary were the first EU countries to denounce the global arrangement for migration after the US decided to pull out back in July this year. The EU opposes the decisions from these six member states. Calling for a united EU front on migration and other issues, the head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said: “If one or two or three countries leave the United Nations migration pact, then we as the EU can’t stand up for our own interests.”

Echoing EU’s disappointment, the UN Special Representative for International Migration Louise Arbour, said that the pact simply aimed to improve the management of cross-border movements of people.

The UN pact on migration was born out of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly on 13 July 2018 and is set to be adopted at a UN conference in the Moroccan city of Marrakech in the second week of December this year.

TMP – 20/11/2018

Photo: Procyk Radek/Shutterstock. Group of refugees leaving Hungary for Austria, with the aim of reaching Germany. October 6, 2015.

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