The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) parliamentary group on Thursday submitted to the Riigikogu a draft resolution seeking a referendum to be conducted regarding the UN Global Compact for Migration. The Board of the Riigikogu accepted the draft for handling.
The motion filed by Estonia's second most popular opposition party calls for a referendum on the migration compact to be held on 3 March 2019 — the same day as the Riigikogu elections.
EKRE Deputy Chairman Henn Põlluaas said that the UN compact interferes with the sovereignty of the Estonian state, dictating moral and political directions on how to handle migration. In matters of such principle, society must not be thrust aside, he added.
"The Riigikogu has no legal restrictions on putting the migration pact to a referendum," Põlluaas pointed out.
A draft proposed by Pro Patria, one of two junion members of the ruling three-party coalition, suggests not joining the pact and declaring it non-binding for Estonia.
"Pursuant to the fact that the UN Global Compact may bring about legal consequences by way of the development of customary international law, and taking into account the historical background and complex demographic situation of the Estonian state, the Riigikogu declares as follows:
The Republic of Estonia shall not join the approval for the UN Global Compact on migration at the intergovernmental conference;
The UN Global Compact on Migration is not binding on Estonia pursuant to international law."
Pro Patria has previously announced that as they did not support the migration pact in the government, they will not support joining the deal in the Riigikogu either.
Party chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder said that his party will use all means available to convince the Riigikogu that supporting the UN migration pact is not in Estonia's interests.
The Riigikogu is to discuss on Monday a statement submitted in support of the UN Global Compact, differences of opinion over which sent the ruling coalition, which consists of the Centre Party, the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and Pro Patria, into a government crisis late last week.
The draft of the Riigikogu statement in support of the migration framework was filed by SDE and Centre MPs.
Editor: Aili Vahtla