Foreign Affairs Committee Rejects UN Pact on Migration

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

Bratislava, November 21 (TASR) – The Government should reject the UN Global Compact on Migration, according to a SNS-sponsored resolution that was approved by the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

The resolution, due to be further discussed by Parliament,
urges Slovakia not to participate in the Marrakech talks, but it’s not legally binding.

Chief of Slovak diplomacy Miroslav Lajcak (a Smer-SD nominee) proposed that Slovakia should take part in the Marrakech conference and deliver an interpretative statement on how Bratislava perceives the global pact. Lajcak pointed out that it doesn’t have much use to debate the objections in a domestic political arena, the opinion must be voiced instead in Marrakech so as to make it part of the official conference record. “If you’re not at the table, then you’re part of the menu,” said Lajcak.

According to Lajcak, Slovakia needs to state unequivocally in Marrakech that it perceives measures in the UN pact only as proposals and reserves the right to decide on its own whether to implement any of them. “Slovakia has always reserved the right to define its own legislation on migration. Nothing in the framework wording binds Slovakia to anything. Such national interpretation will become part of the official conference documentation. It can later serve as a reference in case any doubts arise, whether it be legal or political, about the stance of the Slovak Republic,” added Lajcak.

The proposal received support from committee chair Katarina Csefalvayova (Most-Hid). “I think that the solution offered to the Government by the minister is the best thing we can do,” she said.

This sentiment doesn’t sit well with committee vice-chair Jaroslav Paska (Slovak National Party/SNS), however. “It is the very countries that are the destination of migration that distance themselves from the pact. At a minimum, that suggests something is not right here,” he claimed. It was also lawmakers of SaS, Smer-SD and far-right LSNS who argued that other countries reject the compact as well.

In the approved resolution, the lawmakers also ask the Government to take all the steps necessary to withdraw Slovakia from the process of passing the UN pact and not vote for it at Marrakech. Lajcak, however, told the committee that this cannot be done. “The global compact will be passed as a concluding document of the conference. The conference agenda says that the document will be passed without vote – by consensus. There will be no negotiation. Participating delegations won’t be signing anything. Hence, the document will be approved in any case because the overwhelming majority of countries support it,” he added.

A total of 193 UN member states decided to pass the UN Global Compact on Migration in September 2016. The 34-page document is aimed at streamlining the migration flows and strengthening the rights of migrants. It also emphasises the inviolability of sovereignty of individual countries and their right to their own migration policy.