Europe divided over UN migration pact

Europe divided over UN migration pact
By Isabel Marques da Silva
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Europe divided over UN migration pact


Divided at home, divided abroad: a third of the EU member states do not want to endorse the UN Global Compact for Safe, Ordely and Regular Migration; during a internacional conference, in Marrakech; Monday and Tuesday.

This is despite the fact that the EU asked the international community for a global strategy two years ago, and in April the European Parliament has called for this global agreement by a large majority.

"It is a shame for the Austrian presidency after having put high in the agenda the multilateralism, now is withrawing from such global agreement. A lot of governments are trying to somehow isolate themselves from this global challenge. Europe is a continent of migration, people will be coming (because) we are atractive, but we have to manage it," remarks Tanja Fajon, MEP; Socialist and Democrat, Slovenia.

Austria was followed by other nine other countries (Hungary, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Estonia, Bulgaria) that argue that migration is a matter of national sovereignty linked to security.

These countries have a different interpretation of what is an European common strategy.

"Since a few months, we are following a new course for the migration problem with a new compromise on the table. We think that our three components model will allow us to go much further than with the one size fits all approach," said Herbert Kickl, Austria Minister of Interior.

The Austrian proposal emphasizes in keeping power to decide at country level, more border control and cooperation with countries of origin and transit.

In fact, the Global Compact does not take any sovereignty away because it is not legally binding.

It is a menu of best practices to foster cooperation, enhance monitoring and nobody incurs in sanctions for non-compliance.

Nor does the document frame migration as a human right as some politicians have said, according to this researcher.

"It is actually a reminder for all the governments who are commiting to this Global Compact, to respect human rights that they have already abide themselves to internationally. It is time for those governments to be frank, to aknowledge that they have those obligations, to stop the paranoid populist anti-migration discourse and it is also time to normalise migration," explains Sergio Carrera, Researcher at CEPS and European University Institute.

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