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Paet: Let Estonian government decide on migration pact with a vote

Urmas Paet MEP (Reform/ALDE).
Urmas Paet MEP (Reform/ALDE). Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

A disproportionate and unreasonable amount of energy has been spent and tensions whipped up on the subject of the UN Global Compact on Migration in Estonia. Let the government decide the matter with a vote instead of hiding behind the desire for consensus, said MEP Urmas Paet (Reform/ALDE).

"Thus, let the government start deciding and stop overmystifying the UN declaration on migration," Paet said in a social media post on Saturday. "Estonian society is standing face to face with much more substantive and urgent problems. And there's no point in hiding behind the artificially created desire for consensus. It is too late for this anyway as far as this issue is concerned. But there's still a lot more to be lost in terms of the country's international reputation and our own internal peace if we go on dragging our feet."

The MEP, who is also deputy chairman of the opposition Reform Party, said that a disproportionate and unreasonable amount of energy has been spent on this subject and tensions raised, considering that the document does not establish a single obligation for Estonia, but rather addresses global issues related to migration, such as illegal migration, human trafficking and similar matters, in none of which is Estonia a problem state.

According to Paet, the current state of affairs is a good example of the effect that nearing elections have on public debate, barring normal and peaceful debate and enabling the spreading of fears and disaster scenarios which have nothing to do with this specific document.

"The government should now draw the line under this," Paet noted. "No Estonian law says that the government has to make decisions by consensus. At the same time, it is clear that the government must decide, and voting is an absolutely legal way of making a decision. Especially when at stake are the foreign political choice of Estonia and the country's internatiional standing on the one hand, and short-sighted domestic political pre-election campaigning on the other."

The MEP also pointed out that unlike in Estonia, the UN Global Compact has not caused any controversy in Finland.

"Why isn't anyone asking why this issue has not caused any commotion in Finland, for instance, despite the fact that they have elections coming up next spring as well?" he asked, chalking it up to differences in the depth of political culture and experience. "Finland's international credibility just isn't turned into a subject of pre-election campaigning, especially when we are talking about a declaration that creates no obligations."


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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