EC criticises countries backing out of UN's migration pact

EC criticises countries backing out of UN's migration pact

EC criticises countries backing out of UN's migration pact Izvor: Ilustracija, REUTERS/Yves Herman

European Commission criticised on Monday the countries which backed out from adopting the United Nations' global pact on migrants, dubbed the Marrakech agreement, saying they “would not have done it had they read it.”

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration aims to boost international cooperation in addressing the growing number of migrants globally.

It was in July this year approved by all the UN members except the United States, which had rejected it last year.

However, the governments of Hungary and Austria said they would not adopt the final document at the intergovernmental conference, to be held on December 10-11 in Marrakech, Morocco, saying they were concerned the document may erase the difference between legal and illegal migrations.

Hungary and Austria were soon joined by Poland, the Czech Republic, and Bulgaria.

European Commission’s Chief Spokesperson, Margaritis Schinas, was asked to comment on the growing number of countries which said they would not adopt the Compact.

“President (of the European Commission, Jean-Claude) Juncker said (in Berlin) – about those countries that decided they were leaving the UN migration compact – that, had they read it, they would not have done it. It gives you the idea that many people do not actually know what is in there,” Schinas said.

In Croatia, the Marrakech agreement has recently stirred up a war of words between President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and the Foreign Affairs Ministry, with Grabar-Kitarovic first announcing she would support the pact, but then backing out. The ministry said they see nothing contentious in the document.

“President (Juncker) also said – discussing this in the context of qualified majority voting that we have proposed for certain areas of foreign policy – that if we continue to act this way, we cannot assert ourselves as EU on the international stage,” Schinas added.

Croatian Prime Minister Plenkovic tried to dissuade critics in Croatia last week, saying the Global Compact was not an international treaty, nor was it legally binding.

However, he did not say who would represent Croatia in Marrakech after the president had backed out of the trip.

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