Estonia UN Security Council spot jeopardised

President Kersti Kaljulaid addressing the UN's African Group in New York on Friday. 2 November 2018. Exposure like this has made strides in Estonia's Un security council viability, which the impasse on the Global Migrant Compact may undo. Source: Kersti Kaljulaid/Twitter

The recent furore over the UN Global Migrant Compact, with a split in the ruling coalition government along the fault line lying between its two junior partners, the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SDE) and the centre-right Isamaa/Pro Patria, means Estonia can probably write off both the campaigning costs for a seat at the Security Council elections in 2019, and to an extent even its international reputation.

Daily Postimees pointed out the continued delicate situation in somewhat tongue in cheek tones, stating that ''the Estonian government did not reach an agreement, effectively meaning the country will not come on board with the treaty but, hey, don't worry, were still a serious partner for all countries on migration issues, right?''

President Kersti Kaljulaid has met with representatives of around 170 countries worldwide, talking on the issue and promoting Estonia (votes from at least 129 of the 193 states represented at the UN are needed to get a non-permanent seat, one of 15, on the UN's Security Council).

Africa a focus

Other candidates for the seat include Romania, whose stance on the compact is not clear at present. Many Balkan nations including Bulgaria and Slovenia already said they will not accede to the compact, along with several central European countries including Hungary and Austria. Most of these nations experienced large numbers of people entering or traversing their territory during the migrant crisis of 2015 onwards.

Ms Kaljulaid has paid particular attention to nations from Africa, including meeting with representatives of the UN's African Group in New York early in November.

Erkii Bahovski, editor-in-chief of Diplomaatia magazine published by the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) noted so doing signals an openness to migration to Estonia from such locations and that Estonia changing its tune on the issue means that ''...we can only hope they think we still support them on migration issues''.

Government fait accompli

Ms Kaljulaid, who also recently visited Australia and New Zealand where she spoke about the compact, has stated that without governmental unity on the issue, she will not be travelling to Marrakesh, Morocco on 10-11 December where the compact will receive verbal assent from national leaders.

Since governmental assent would be needed anyway, this is something of a fait accompli.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas held a crisis meeting on Friday evening after which he said he would work to keep the coalition government together; for their part SDE and Pro Patria's positions seem intractable.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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