The European Union is in the midst of a political turmoil over the ratification of the United Nations pact on migration. The resistance to the pact is galvanizing in Europe ahead of the December 10 deadline when the representatives from some 180 UN member states will meet in Morocco, a Muslim-majority country in North Africa, to formally adopt the “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” as the pact is officially called.
Belgium became the latest EU country to get sucked into the crisis, with its ruling coalition teetering on the brink of collapse over the migration dispute. The country’s right-wing New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) broke away from the ruling alliance amid sharp disagreements over the UN pact. The N-VA regards the agreement as an infringement of Belgian sovereignty. “In our democracy, we decide. The sovereignty is with the people,” the party said.
The Belgian newspaper EU Observer covered the unfolding political crisis in the country:
The future of Belgium’s coalition government has come under threat after Prime Minister Charles Michel said he would sign the UN Global Migration Compact in Marrakesh on 10 December, despite opposition from his coalition partner, the Flemish right-wing N-VA party. (…)
Michel said the international credibility of Belgium, which had approved the document last September, was at stake. He also said Belgium could not afford to oppose the pact while the countries surrounding it are expected to support it.
The Belgian PM also announced he would take the issue to the federal parliament. Some commentators see the vote in the Belgian parliament as an attempt by Michel to forge a new majority.
Michel’s MR party (ALDE-affiliated) has been in coalition since 2014 with the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA, ECR-affiliated), the Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V, EPP-affiliated), the Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Open Vld, ALDE affiliated).
Should N-VA choose to pull out from the government, this would probably lead to a breakup of the coalition.
The development further diminishes the EU’s chances of unequivocally endorsing the pact ahead of next month’s UN migration summit in Morocco. Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel is among the most fervent backers of the UN treaty besides German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Last December, the United States became the first country to pull out of the Obama-era pact, prompting other countries to follow suit. In recent months, the opposition to the agreement has grown within the EU, with Slovakia becoming the eighth EU member county to reject the pact earlier this week. Outside of the EU, Switzerland, Australia, and Israel have also withdrawn from the global pact.
Speaking at the UN general assembly in September, President Trump urged other nations to join the U.S. in rejecting the globalist agenda. “America is governed by Americans,” he said. “We reject the ideology of globalism and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.”
The opposition to the pact is not limited to eastern Europe alone. Germany’s Merkel faces open rebellion within her Christian conservative CDU, with leading party members speaking against the UN-backed initiative.
Marian Wendt, a senior CDU lawmaker, is spearheading the campaign to challenge Merkel on the floor of the parliament over the issue. Wendt has received support from Jens Spahn, the German health minister and a front-runner to succeed Merkel as the CDU chief.
The sharpest rebuke to the Merkel’s stance on the issue comes from the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), the third largest party in the German Bundestag. “Millions of people from crisis-stricken regions around the world are being encouraged to get on the road,” the co-chair of the AfD parliamentary group, Alexander Gauland, said recently. “Leftist dreamers and globalist elites want to secretly turn our country from a nation state into a settlement area.”
The opposition within the Bundestag is unlikely to stop Merkel from signing the pact, but it will further weaken her at home and within the EU. After President Obama’s departure from the world stage, the German leader is widely seen as the driving force behind the UN migration initiative.
The migration pact is regarded by many on the European right as an attempt to establish an international legal framework to supersede the existing national laws. Once in place, the UN framework could be used to sanction individual countries defying the open door immigration policies advocated by the political elite sitting in Berlin and Brussels, the opponents of the pact fear.
Trump: United States will not participate in global compact on migration (September 2018)
[Cover image via YouTube]
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