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Mar 15, 2019 - Zoltán Kovács

Hate to say we told you so: European Commission mulls adoption of the failed UN Global Compact for Migration

An official European Commission document concludes that Brussels should adopt the text of the UN Global Compact for Migration. Once it does, EU member states would be obliged to comply. Never mind that nine out of the EU-28 oppose the GCM.

The title of the document should be a dead giveaway: the “legal effects of the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration by the UN General Assembly”. The ten-page document, a copy of which I saw recently, was prepared by the Commission’s Legal Service, and it clearly chooses sides in the migration debate. “The [European] Union shall promote multilateral solutions elaborated in the framework of the GCM [Global Compact for Migration],” it reads.

The government of Hungary was among the first to voice serious concerns about the UN’s GCM for the way that it presents migration not only as something inevitable but also something good. It walks down an international legal road that seeks to make migration a right, seemingly dismissing fundamental rights of citizens. Hungary left the GCM talks, and in our opposition, we are joined by eight other EU countries. 

The Commission sees things differently.

“In accordance with the principle of loyal cooperation, Member States should facilitate the achievement of the Union’s objectives, including the implementation of the GCM. At the same time, they should refrain from any action that could jeopardize the attainment of those objectives,” the legal service concluded, cherry picking articles from EU Treaties.

Untangle the Brussels-speak, and here’s what that implies: should the EC implement the GCM, member states would be under pressure to comply with the UN’s pro-migration agenda.

Hate to say we told you so. Prime Minister Orbán advised caution long ago, underlining that even if a UNGA resolution is supposedly non-binding and doesn’t carry direct obligations per se, it takes on a momentum and may eventually be cited by activist supporters as an accepted legal principle.

But the provisions laid out in the UN’s GCM are hardly “accept” principles.

Eight Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia) chose not to attend the December 10 Marrakech Intergovernmental Conference last year. The conference adopted an outcome document that went on to become the backbone of the UNGA vote nine days later, where nine out of the EU-28 chose not to support the compact (Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland voted against it; Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Latvia, Romania abstained; Slovakia didn’t show up).

These nine countries see through the ploy. They knew that the GCM wasn’t only a United Nations formality, as inferred by Brussels, but an elaborate, pro-migration policy statement. One that would “manage” immigration instead of stopping it, and send an invitation to migrants instead of bringing help to those troubled areas where it’s most needed.