The European Commission has expressed regret at Austria’s decision to back out of a United Nations migration pact.
This comes after Austria's followed the United States and Hungary in backing out over concerns that an acceptance of the treaty would blur the line between legal and illegal migration, the right-wing government said on Wednesday.
EU Commission spokesperson Natasha Bertaud said at a regular daily news conference, "We regret the decision that the Austrian government has taken. We continue to believe that migration is a global challenge where only global solutions and global responsibility sharing will bring results. Austria had played an extremely constructive and key role in the negotiations on the Global Compact on Migration, putting the position of the participating 27 EU Member States forward which is why we find the position today regrettable."
Austria took in roughly one percent of its population in asylum seekers in 2015. It was at a time during a migration crisis in which more than a million people travelled to Europe, fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.
The pact addresses issues of how to protect people who migrate, how to integrate them into new countries and how to return them to their home countries.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was approved in July by all 193 member nations except the United States, which backed out last year.
Hungary's right-wing government has already since said it will not sign the final document at a ceremony in Morocco in December. Poland is also considering taking a similar step.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, a conservative and immigration hard-liner, confirmed that Austria would be not signing the pact.
In a statement, he said: "We view some points of the migration pact very critically, such as the mixing up of seeking protection with labour migration.”
Austria took in roughly one percent of its population in asylum seekers in 2015 during a migration crisis in which more than a million people travelled to Europe.
Concerns linked to an influx of migrants dominated last year's parliamentary election and helped propel Kurz's conservatives to power in a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party.
The non-binding UN pact is aimed at making migration safe and orderly. It addresses issues such as how to protect people who migrate, how to integrate them into new countries and how to return them to their home countries.