Austria has decided not to sign the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration that was approved in July by the United Nations. The Central European country has thus sided with the United States and Hungary in backing out of the global deal on migration. Poland, which has clashed with Brussels by standing against national quotas, is still considering which side to join. “We have decided that we will not join the pact,” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said, adding that his country would not take part in the final signing ceremony in Morocco and will abstain from a UN vote on the deal next year.
Mr. Kurz’s cabinet voiced concerns about the pact already earlier in October, saying that it could restrict sovereignty. The EU Commission has expressed its disappointment with the Austrian decision. “We regret the decision 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,” EU Commission spokesperson Natasha Bertraud said. She also reminded that Austria had played “an extremely constructive and key role in the negotiations” on the global migration agreement but this had been under a previous Socialist-led government.
The global compact for migration is the first, inter-governmentally negotiated agreement that was prepared under the auspices of the United Nations. The deal aims to cover all verticals of international migrations in a holistic and comprehensive way. The EU as such is not going to sign the compact but rather the individual member states. Today, there are more than 258 million migrants scattered around the world. The number is expected to grow due to population growth, increasing connectivity, trade, rising inequality climate change and demographic imbalances.