Austria’s decision to back out of a United Nations migration pact – the The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration – has been criticised by the European Commission.
“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,” said EU Commission spokesperson Natasha Bertaud said at a press conference. “Austria had played an extremely constructive and key role in the negotiations on the Global Compact on Migration, putting the position of the participating 27 EU Member States forward which is why we find the position today regrettable.”
As reported by Euronews online, this comes after Austria’s followed the United States and Hungary in backing out over concerns that an acceptance of the treaty would blur the line between legal and illegal migration, the right-wing government said on October 30.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, a conservative and immigration hard-liner, confirmed that Austria would be not signing the pact.
In a statement, he said: “We view some points of the migration pact very critically, such as the mixing up of seeking protection with labour migration.”
In a separate report, The Independent noted that Austria took in roughly 1% of its population in asylum seekers in 2015 during a migration crisis in which more than a million people travelled to Europe, many of them fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.