mw. The UN Global Compact for Migration is rather inconvenient for opponents of the Self-determination Initiative, because here the Federal Council wants to sign an international treaty without consulting parliament. The justification that it is actually not an agreement, but a “non-binding” document, misses the point. Experience has shown that the Federal Council, with its administrative staff and the “help” of various NGOs, will rapidly start to implement the document, non-binding or not.
A few weeks before the vote on the Self-determination Initiative, the responsible parliamentary commissions are getting nervous. The process around the UN Compact makes the urgency of the Self-determination Initiative very clear. Despite all attempts of appeasement by Federal Councillor Cassis, the Compact can have far-reaching consequences without the parliament having anything to say about it, much less the people.
The UN Global Compact for Migration is a 32-page document. Without being able to go into more details here: Its aim is to facilitate the “labour mobility” by calling on the states [which obviously means, above all, the European states] to conclude international and bilateral cooperation agreements in which the right of residence, work permits, family reunification, access to social insurance and much more are to be regulated. Switzerland, for example, has already regulated all these areas in detail in its law. However, the Compact wants to persuade the states to extend the rights of immigrants in their national legislation in many respects. This would include interventions in media freedom [“sensitising” journalists with regards to the use of “migration terms” and the like] or an active promotion of “safe migration” in countries of origin and transit.
On 2 November, the Political Institutions Committee of the National Council (PIC-N) decided by 15 votes to 9 to discourage the Federal Council from signing the UN Global Compact for Migration. This was on the grounds that Switzerland should “not commit itself internationally to objectives which might be contrary to national law”. (Press release PIC-N from 2.11.2018) The legally non-binding nature of the document is undisputed in the Committee, said PIC President Kurt Fluri (FDP). “But the majority is convinced that the Compact is politically binding and that the included demands will be taken up by politicians and organisations”. (“Neue Zürcher Zeitung” from 3.11.2018)
Meanwhile, FDP foreign policy expert Hans-Peter Portmann called for a popular referendum on the signing of the UN Global Compact for Migration in coordination with the FDP party leadership. Portmann’s initiative has been discussed and rejected in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council (FAC-N) on 5/6 November (Press release FAC-N from 6 November).
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The fact that resistance against the UN Compact is coming up among parliamentarians, proves the need for the Self-determination Initiative. The Initiative would like to correct exactly such questionable procedures, as the Federal Council had intended with its signature single-handedly. It does not ask for anything revolutionary, but merely wants to bring back the direct-democratic rights of the electorate, which have always been written in the constitution. A “yes” to the Self-determination Initiative obliges the national councillors and councillors of states to protect the democratic rights in the future as well as they currently do in an exemplary manner – a few weeks before the voting date. •
As one more state, Austria has announced that it will not sign the UN Global Compact for Migration. From the speech of the Austrian Federal Chancellor to the Council of Ministers:
“After a detailed examination, the Federal Government has considerable reservations in terms of content and objectives of the UN Global Compact for Migration. According to the Austrian Federal Government, state action in the field of migration has to be based on national laws or international treaties to which Parliament has previously given its constitutional consent. Against this backdrop, it is explicitly stated that Austria regards the UN Global Compact for Migration as not binding under international law. In particular, the Federal Government is of the opinion that this compact does not confirm or create a human right to migrate, whether through customary international law, soft law or international jurisdiction. In the future, Austria will consistently declare to a suitable group of addressees that it regards the compact as non-binding under international law, and that Austria’s state practice is also to be designed accordingly and that also in the future Austria will not participate financially in the implementation of this compact.
There must not be any dilution of legal and illegal migration, as is to be feared through this compact. The sovereignty of Austria must be preserved at all times. […]
The Austrian Federal Government considers the adoption of the UN Global Compact for Migration to be unsuitable for dealing with migration issues. Austria will therefore not join the UN Global Compact for Migration and abstain in the UN General Assembly to clarify the concerns.”
Quoted from: Austrian Federal-Chancellery, 31 October 2018, Karin Kneissl [Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs]: Speech to the Council of Ministers https://www.bundeskanzleramt.gv.at/documents/131008/1068065/33_11_mrv_Votumserklaerung.pdf/2998648a-b042-4863-b0ee-7a473ff28977
(Translation Current Concerns)
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