The European Parliament has officially welcomed the adoption of the UN’s Global Compact on Migration, despite the reservations of some Member States.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which was ratified yesterday in Morocco by 150 countries, lays out its signatories’ commitment to work within a “cooperative framework”, limiting migration into countries which already have a large migrant population and promoting measures to help new arrivals become self-reliant. The Global Compact on Migration aims to promote long term solutions to irregular migration and forced dicplacement.
At the introduction of the Global Compact on Migration in July 2018, it was initially ratified by 192 of the United Nation’s 193 member countries; with the USA the only outlier. Since then, however, 42 more nations have withdrawn their support. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who has taken a strongly anti-migrant approach to governance, pulled his country out of the pact while negotiations were still in progress. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz withdrew his country’s support in October, followed by the heads of state of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland.
A statement issued yesterday by MEPs said: “MEPs regret the campaign of disinformation that has led to several countries withdrawing their support from the Global Compact on Migration. The migration compact is a non-legally binding framework that does not create new obligations for states and is in full respect of the principle of national sovereignty.”
Austria, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, will host an EU conference on Africa next week in Vienna, to be attended by delegates from European and African governments. However representatives of several southern and western EU Member States have declared their intention not to attend the conference in protest at Austria’s attitude to the Global Compact on Migration, with one unnamed diplomat saying: “I would not call [Austria] the best possible honest broker” on migration matters.
The MEPs’ statement said: “The European Parliament strongly believes that [the Global Compact on Migration] must be people-centred and rights-based. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights…must be at the core of migration governance alongside existing international law obligations, such as the Refugee Convention. Vulnerable groups and to people in vulnerable situations, notably migrant children and unaccompanied and separated children, should get special attention.”