Riigikogu committee forwards draft UN migration pact statement to plenary

MP Marko Mihkelson (Reform).
MP Marko Mihkelson (Reform). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

At an extraordinary meeting held on Friday, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu approved 7-3 the amended text of a draft statement regarding the UN Global Compact on Migration, forwarding it to the supplementary plenary sitting of the Riigikogu to be held on Monday.

The committee heard a legal explanation by Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise regarding the UN Global Compact on Migration and reviewed 15 proposed amendments submitted by five parliamentary groups for the draft statement supporting the migration pact, spokespeople for the Riigikogu told BNS.

Committee chairman Marko Mihkelson (Reform) said that the Foreign Affairs Committee has dealt with issues pertaining to the migration framework in a responsible manner, and the handling of the draft statement was also conducted by concentrating on arguments, regardless of varying standpoints.

"The parliamentary discussion launched at the initiative of the committee has demonstrated how important it is to comprehensively analyse global migration problems and how Estonia, in international cooperation, could protect both its sovereign rights as well as participate in finding solutions," Mihkelson said. "Based on these discussions, it seemed to me that Estonia needs a separate migration strategy."

Committee member Oudekki Loone (Centre) said that this is a historically significant moment where the Riigikogu is actively discussing serious foreign policy issues.

"We discussed concerns and problems that have been under public scrutiny over the last few weeks in relation to the migration framework," she said. "This is good practice, and these discussions will allow us to show that we follow societal discussions."

Loone also expressed hope that the Riigikogu will be active in shaping Estonia's foreign policy in the future as well.

Amendment proposals to the Riigikogus draft statement titled "On the UN Global Compact on Migration" were submitted by the parliamentary groups of Pro Patria, the Reform Party, the Free Party, the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE).

Committee approves mix of proposed amendments

The committee supported the proposal of the parliamentary group of the Free Party, according to which the Riigikogu distinctly emphasises the right of each country highlighted in the migration framework to shape its migration policy. The committee also supported two other proposals of the Free Party and one wording-related proposal submitted by the Reform Party.

The committee supported the proposal of the parliamentary group of the Reform Party to uniformly say in the statement that the government is to decide over joining the global migration framework. A similar proposal was made by the parliamentary group of the Free Party, which the committee supported in principle.

At the proposal of the SDE parliamentary group, the committee added to the statement a reference to a provision of the Foreign Relations Act which regulates the jurisdiction of the government to make statements, declarations and inquiries related to foreign relations, or join them.

Madise presented to the committee an independent legal assessment, higlighting five aspects and affirming that the UN document is not an international agreement and is not legally binding for party countries.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE) fully agreed with Madise's assessment.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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