EU must reject the right’s hysterical reaction to the UN migration and refugee compacts

UN global migration compact logo

The S&D Group added an urgent debate to the European Parliament’s agenda today on the UN migration and refugee compacts. The debate came after various EU governments such as Austria, Hungary and Poland, followed Donald Trump’s lead in saying they would not sign the agreements.

S&D Group president Udo Bullmann said:

“We Socialists and Democrats requested this debate on the UN Global Compact on refugees and migration in order to counter the spread of wilful misinformation that has been going on for weeks now. The countries that have pulled out of the agreement have repeatedly justified their actions with untrue or misleading statements about what the pacts actually contain. The UN compacts are an attempt to help nations tackle the reality of migration and refugees in a sustainable and fair manner by non-binding standards - nothing more or less. Contrary to the complaints of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the pacts make it explicitly clear that ‘migrants and refugees are distinct groups governed by separate legal frameworks.’ Yet again, the right is attempting to politicise these pacts and international cooperation on migration as a cheap way of gaining votes at home. It is part of a wider movement from the right, away from cooperation to nationalism, and the EU must reject it.”

S&D Group vice-president Tanja Fajon, who spoke on behalf of the Group in today’s debate, added:

“The hysterical reaction of right-wing governments to these non-binding agreements is worrying. Refugees, and migrants, are often in particularly vulnerable positions and open to exploitation. Both compacts set out a series of sensible proposals on how we can better manage the movement of people around the world. This includes commitments to protecting migrant workers from exploitation or preventing and combatting the trafficking of people. Surely, these are ideas we can all get behind regardless of our political orientation.

“We will continue to defend the UN migration and refugee compacts from the misinformation campaign of the right and urge all EU and UN member states to sign it on December 10-11 in Marrakesh.”