Lajcak Might Step Down If UN Global Migration Compact Is Rejected

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Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, November 20 (TASR) – Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak (a Smer-SD nominee) is entertaining the idea of stepping down from his post if Parliament votes not to join the United Nations Global Compact on Migration, TASR learnt on Tuesday.

“Ever since I’ve been a minister, I’ve been pushing for a democratic, pro-European vision of Slovakia that is part of the solutions. However, if the overwhelming proportion of MPs want Slovakia to be isolated, to be part of the problems and to leave solutions to others, in that case I cannot pursue such a policy,” said Lajcak ahead of the Cabinet session.

Lajcak pointed out that the Cabinet is set to discuss a bill simplifying the hiring of people from third (non-EU) countries. “That’s called legal and regulated migration, and that is exactly what the compact is saying,” he said.

Lajcak went on to state that he’d spoken to Smer-SD chairman Robert Fico before the former prime minister published a video in which he described the UN compact as a document that’s at odds with Slovakia’s migration policy. Lajcak interpreted their conversation differently from Fico. “The basic element was that we can’t stick our heads in the sand or publish Facebook statuses; we need to communicate if we have any reservations,” said Lajcak, adding that all those criticising the compact are in fact following other objectives. “It’s not about this document; this is about winning voter support…, they’re all concentrating on our own petty politics,” said Lajcak.

The head of Slovak diplomacy also wonders why his colleagues from Smer-SD want him to run in the presidential election even though they aren’t supporting him in promoting the UN Global Migration Compact, which was adopted in 2017 when Lajcak served as the president of the UN General Assembly. “On one hand, I’ve failed, as I have de facto betrayed Slovakia’s interests as president of the General Assembly, which is nonsense, but they’re trying to imply that. On the other hand, I’m supposed be good enough to become president,” he said, adding that he highly appreciates the support that the public has given him in recent opinion polls concerning potential presidential candidates.

The main goal of the 34-page UN document is to help better organise migration flows and strengthen migrants’ rights.

Some countries including Australia, Austria, Hungary and the USA have already announced their withdrawal from the compact, however, with other countries planning to follow suit.

The junior coalition Slovak National Party (SNS) is strongly against Slovakia signing the UN document, along with the senior coalition Smer-SD party, while Opposition parties Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) and We Are Family have expressed their reservations towards the document as well.