Follows the U.S. and Hungary in rejecting the Obama-era UN plan
Austria has decided to follow the United States and Hungary in pulling out of the United Nations migration pact that is set to be ratified in December.
The Austrian government was pulling out of the UN-sponsored pact to “defend its national sovereignty,” local news reports say. “Austria rejects the possibility that the migration pact could establish new, customary international law which would be binding on Austria or could be interpreted as such,” Heinz-Christan Strache, Austria’s Vice Chancellor and head of the Freedom Party, told reporters. The international accord seeks to blur the line between legal and illegal immigration, a statement issued by the government said.
In December, the representatives of around 190 UN member states are expected to gather in the Muslim-majority country of Morocco to sign the “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” as the pact is formally known.
On Wednesday, Austrian newspaper Wiener Zeitung reported Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s decision to back out of the agreement:
Austria will be withdrawing from the UN global migration pact. The government will take a decision to this effect on Wednesday. The legally non-binding agreement would lay down the rules for refugees and migrants, and will be adopted on December, 10-11 at a UN conference in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Austria will not sign the document due to significant apprehensions regarding its content, and will not send an official representative to Marrakesh, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache said ahead of today’s cabinet meeting. [They don’t regard] the migration pact suited to regulate migration issues and fear the loss of Austrian sovereignty with regard to the immigration policy, as well as watering down of differences between legal and illegal immigration.
The government stressed the position that a human right to migration could not be established by this agreement — be it through customary international law, Soft Law or international judicature, both Kurz and Strache maintained. [Translation by the author]
Last year, Trump administration pulled out of the Obama-backed UN pact, calling its provisions “inconsistent” with US immigration policy. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called the agreement “simply not compatible with U.S. sovereignty.” According to former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, signing it “could undermine the sovereign right of the United States to enforce our immigration laws and secure our borders.”
In July, Hungary became the first country to join the U.S. in rejecting the accord, calling it a “threat to the world” and “entirely against” its national interests. Poland and few other eastern European countries are also considering a similar step.
Last year, Austria’s conservative People’s Party and right-wing anti-establishment Freedom Party formed a coalition government after the national election, paving the way for tougher policies on illegal immigration and Islamic radicalization.
The emergence of a nationalist government in Vienna has bolstered the position of Hungary, Poland and other eastern European countries that have been resisting the pressure by the European Union to open their borders to mass migration. Mainstream European media have mocked this new alliance as “little Habsburg,” alluding to the monarchy by the same name that ruled Austria and parts of eastern and central Europe until the early 20th century.
Not just its imperial past, the Catholic faith also unites Austria with eastern European countries. Unlike the liberal stance taken by the Vatican, the clergy and flock in these countries are overwhelmingly opposed to uncontrolled migration from Arab and Muslim countries. Vienna’s Archbishop, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, is on record as saying that the ongoing mass immigration was an “Islamic invasion of Europe.”
Despite growing opposition to open border policies at home, most of the European governments have timidly fallen in line behind the EU and the UN as they both steamroll new immigration norms to supersede established national regulations. By rejecting the globalist pact, Austria paves the way for smaller European countries to defy the ruling establishment in Brussels.
Video: EU Commissioner ‘regrets’ Austria’s decision on migration
[Cover image via YouTube]
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