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Seeder on migration pact debate: They're trying to avoid the government now

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Pro Patria Party chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder.
Pro Patria Party chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

According to Pro Patria chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder, should the joining of the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration be put up to a vote in the Riigikogu, his party would vote against it. He found, however, that by taking it to the Session Hall, people are trying to avoid the government on the issue.

"Pro Patria will maintain its positions," Seeder told ERR on Monday. "We discussed this in the parliamentary group today too. In shaping its position, the government delegation based its decision on the parliamentary group's decision that we do not support joining this migration framework, and we will continue to stand by this. Should this now end up being put up to a vote in the Riigikogu, the Pro Patria parliamentary group will naturally vote against joining the pact."

Seeder noted that while initially it was attempted to avoid discussing the pact in the Riigikogu, things have now reached the point where it is the government that is trying to be avoided.

"As an agreement was not reached in the government due to Pro Patria's opposition, now it is being attempted to take it to the Riigikogu via the main entrance in order to bypass the government," he asserted. "That isn't actually an honest or reasonable thing to do."

According to Seeder, a number of serious issues have arisen in the course of discussions regarding the migration pact.

"If we're going to highlight any good to come of this, then I believe there are a number of important things that have come up in the course of the process," he said. "First of all, Estonian society and the public have learned more and gotten a clearer understanding of an issue tied to international law; how a declaration or pact is approved at all; how vague the process is. This is food for thought for us."

Second, he noted, the people learned how mandates and powers work within Estonia when it comes to approving declarations or pacts.

"Whether the head of state needs a government decision, a Riigikogu decision or doesn't need a decision at all and can go ahead with their own mandate and powers," he continued. "Or whether the Minister of Foreign Affairs or rather an ambassador goes instead."

Ratas favours letting Riigikogu vote

Prime Minister and Centre Party chairman Jüri Ratas, meanwhile, is in favour of putting the pact to a Riigikogu vote.

"I think this would be a reasonable idea," Ratas told ERR. "In this case, the representatives of the people and the Riigikogu truly should provide their assessment as well."

According to the head of government, they are working on the matter today, and he hopes that it will involve much more coverage than just the government coalition.

"It is clear that Pro Patria, one party of the coalition, does not support the migration framework and that this isn't a three-sided decision," Ratas said. "I believe that the Riigikogu providing its assessment is reasonable here."

The prime minister believed that the matter may be on the Riigikogu's agenda as soon as this week already.

The Social Democratic Party (SDE) on Monday proposed that  in order to resolve the current government crisis, Estonia's joining of the controversial UN migration pact could be put to a vote in the Riigikogu.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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