«In the german interest»

People join hands through a fence © Jim West (CBA)

Opponents fear incentives for migration, supporters criticize lies being spread. But many support the move toward a UN migration pact, saying it would establish international cooperation on migration ies.

According to lawyer Jurgen Bast, the treaty does not include a human right to migration, contrary to what critics claim. The professor of public law and European law at the University of Giessen was cautiously optimistic that the pact could establish lasting international cooperation on migration ies, reports the media group "Straubinger Tagblatt/Landshuter Zeitung" (Saturday).

The expert on German, European and international migration law also said the refusal by countries such as Hungary and Austria was based on a "fundamental dispute about whether states should cooperate in solving problems".

Heads of state and government want to adopt the agreement, which is not binding under international law, in December in Marrakech, Morocco. The United Nations had agreed in July on the "Treaty for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration". The agreement aims to prevent chaotic and life-threatening migration. The USA and Australia as well as some EU states have announced that they will not participate. Germany, on the other hand, is committed to the pact.

Misereor: See UN migration pact as an opportunity

In the run-up, the aid organization Misereor called for a factual approach to the ie. The treaty offers the chance to "adopt common guidelines for dealing with migration and to keep the ie of migration on the international agenda," Managing Director Martin Brockelmann-Simon said in Aachen as recently as Wednesday. On the other hand, the states that were now dropping out of the process were creating "ongoing uncertainty and disunity. In any case, they will not prevent migration, but they will further fuel xenophobia."

The question is not whether there will be migration in the future, but under what circumstances it will take place, Brockelmann-Simon explained. The migration pact offers "for the first time a framework of orientation on a global level" and can "set binding standards for dealing with migration and migrants.". Germany would have to massively advocate the signing.

Cardinal Schonborn criticizes Austria's exit

In Vienna, Christoph Karidnal Schonborn criticized Austria's withdrawal from the UN migration pact. The chairman of the Austrian Bishops' Conference emphasized in the ORF program "Hohes Haus": "The migration problem is a worldwide problem." The belief that Austria can meet the challenges alone is "at least a little questionable". Schonborn added: "Alone we will not manage anything. In a global world, we can only work and live in a network with good bridges to our neighbors."

Migration expert Gerald Knaus also sharply criticized Austria's withdrawal from the UN migration pact. "That Austria does not want to join the agreement is a sign of weakness," the mastermind of the EU-Turkey deal and chairman of the think tank European Stability Initiative (ESI) told Die Welt. Austria had helped negotiate the pact under Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. "But the FPo has managed to impose its view of a conspiracy of the world community, namely to enable mass migration."

The pact sets standards for migrant rights "that are not yet respected in many parts of the world," Knaus explained. It is also "in Germany's interest" that other countries come closer to these standards "so that Germany does not become a magnet for further migration flows". For example, he said, there would be less migration to Europe "if migrants in West Africa are treated fairly everywhere".

Signing at the UN summit in Marrakech

CDU Secretary-General Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer also defended the Global Compact on Migration against critics. "It is above all right-wing populist parties that are trying to draw incitement potential from the migration pact," she told the Funke Mediengruppe newspapers. "If we align our policies in Germany with this, we will dwarf ourselves in an incredible way — and the right-wing populists are already registering the first success."

Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration to be adopted at UN summit in Marrakech in December. The U.S. and Australia, as well as some EU states, have announced they will not participate. Germany, on the other hand, is committed to the pact.

Kramp-Karrenbauer also defended the refugee policy of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU). "The fact that many people came to us in 2015 was the right thing to do in an exceptional humanitarian situation," she said. "This development can also not be reversed. The debate in the CDU must therefore not only revolve around 2015. That would be counterproductive and would paralyze us. It is now a question of what we do further — nationally and internationally."

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