Conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache expressed fears about the possibility of compromising the clear distinction between legal and illegal migration.
For that reason, Kurz announced that Austria will not sign the The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration which is the global migration pact drafted by the United Nations (UN).
“There are some points that we view critically and where we fear a danger to our national sovereignty,” Kurz said, the Austria Press Agency reported.
“Migration is not and cannot become a human right,” added Strache. “It cannot be that someone receives a right to migration because of the climate or poverty.”
Hungary and the United States have already rescinded from the compact while Poland is considering the same option.
Polish Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinsk said “The UN migration agreement is not in line with the priorities of the Polish government, which are ensuring security of Polish citizens and maintaining control over the migration flows.”
The decision of Austria not to sign the global migration pact caught the chagrin of the European Union (EU).
Natasha Bertaud, a spokeswoman for the EU’s Executive Commission, expressed regrets on Austria’s decision:
“We regret the decision that the Austrian government has taken. We continue to believe that migration is a global challenge where only global solutions and global responsibility sharing will bring results.”
Louise Arbour, the UN special representative for international migration, also finds Austria’s decision regrettable:
“The question of whether this is an invidious way to start promoting a ‘human right to migrate’ is not correct. It’s not in the text; there’s no sinister project to advance that.”
The compact, which is non-binding, states that nations have the sovereign right to “determine their national migration policy and their prerogative to govern migration within their jurisdiction”. It adds: “Within their sovereign jurisdiction, states may distinguish between regular and irregular migration status.”
Austria’s Interior Minister, Herbert Kickl, criticized what he called “an almost irresponsibly naive pro-migration tone.”
Kickl argued that “it is simply not clear whether this pact, if we were to join it, would not at some point or somehow influence our body of law, even by the back door.”