Declaration on UN Migration Compact under discussion in the Riigikogu ({{commentsTotal}})

The declaration on the UN Global Compact on Migration being discussed in the Riigikogu on Monday. 26 November 2018.
The declaration on the UN Global Compact on Migration being discussed in the Riigikogu on Monday. 26 November 2018. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Riigikogu, which was not to have any sittings this week, convened for an additional sitting on Monday, the agenda of which centred on the first reading of the draft declaration titled "On the UN Global Compact on Migration."

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE) opened the sitting with a political statement in which he stressed that approving the migration compact would not bring international immigration to Estonia.

"The migration compact is not an international agreement in terms of either Estonian or international law," Mikser said. "It is not legally binding for either Estonia or other countries. It will not take away our right to independently or sovereignly shape our own migration and border policy. It will not turn migration into a human right."

He also stated that it wouldn't bring more migrants to Estonia than the amount and number thereof who would otherwise end up in the country. 

"Not one of us here is representing some kind of hidden agenda aimed at bringing immigrants by the masses to Estonia," the minister said. "These fears are unfounded. And not one of us wants to secretly take on obligations for Estonia that are repugnant or unacceptable to us. These fears are unfounded."

Asked by MP Madis Milling (Reform) to confirm whether the Estonian-language translation of the migration compact was competent, Mikser replied that the safest bet was to rely on the English-language text.

The foreign minister was followed by Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu (Pro Patria), who also read a political statement in which he called on MPs to not support declaration on the migration compact.

According to Reinsalu, the government doesn't have to discuss the issue again; it is the Riigikogu who has to say no to the migration compact.

"People lacking the perception of social or historical perspective are saying that we are discussing an unimportant issue," he said. "This is a timeless question — where do we come from, and where are we going? I hope that the representation of the people makes its decision independent of party politics-related pressure and votes down this pact."

We're ready to escalate this, says EKRE

MP Martin Helme, chairman of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) parliamentary group, said that it was the Social Democrats (SDE) who started the violence at Monday morning's protest in front of the Riigikogu. "It was the Social Democrats who started the violence," Helme said. "[MEP] Indrek Tarand attacked the organisers [of the protest] and started being destructive. In addition to everything else, he was also drunk."

The police had previously confirmed that Tarand was sober at the time of the protest.

Helme said that EKRE is prepared to escalate the matter even further.

"Of course I'm sorry to see that Pro Patria is content with striking a pose and defining its opposition, but is not prepared to go through all the way to the end,"  he said. "We know that the Social Democrats are prepared — the Social Democrats are the only ones — the only political force in this hall that is prepared to take a serious political hit in order to push through their rigid ideology. Pro Patria is only posing, but is not prepared to sink the state budget, not prepared to sink the government and, if someone is steamrolled, is not prepared to vote in favour of this coming back to the government, where you blocked it again. That is a pose you are striking. We don't strike poses. We act and state very clearly: we are prepared to continue escalating."

Declaration: Global compact non-binding

The draft declaration was submitted by  Jevgeni Ossinovski, Eiki Nestor, Kalvi Kõva, Marianne Mikko, Jaanus Marrandi, Inara Luigas, Heljo Pikhof, Kersti Sarapuu, Tiit Terik, Mihhail Korb, Heimar Lenk, Erki Savisaar, Märt Sults, Enn Eesmaa, Anneli Ott, Siret Kotka-Repinski, Vladimir Velman, Dmitri Dmitrijev, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Igor Kravtšenko, Helmut Hallemaa, Marika Tuus-Laul, Eevi Paasmäe, Toomas Väinaste, Valeri Korb, Rainer Vakra, Toomas Paur, Jaanus Karilaid, Karin Tammemägi, Aadu Must, Viktor Vassiljev, Helmen Kütt, Toomas Jürgenstein, Hardi Volmer, Toomas Vitsut, Barbi Pilvre, Hannes Hanso, Monika Haukanõmm, and Tanel Talve.

The draft declaration was submitted by  Jevgeni Ossinovski, Eiki Nestor, Kalvi Kõva, Marianne Mikko, Jaanus Marrandi, Inara Luigas, Heljo Pikhof, Kersti Sarapuu, Tiit Terik, Mihhail Korb, Heimar Lenk, Erki Savisaar, Märt Sults, Enn Eesmaa, Anneli Ott, Siret Kotka-Repinski, Vladimir Velman, Dmitri Dmitrijev, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Igor Kravtšenko, Helmut Hallemaa, Marika Tuus-Laul, Eevi Paasmäe, Toomas Väinaste, Valeri Korb, Rainer Vakra, Toomas Paur, Jaanus Karilaid, Karin Tammemägi, Aadu Must, Viktor Vassiljev, Helmen Kütt, Toomas Jürgenstein, Hardi Volmer, Toomas Vitsut, Barbi Pilvre, Hannes Hanso, Monika Haukanõmm, and Tanel Talve.

According to the declaration, the UN Global Compact for Migration is a non-binding cooperation framework, as has likewise been emphasised by the Chancellor of Justice of the Republic of Estonia. It is a declaration negotiated by UN member states that would provide Estonia with the opportunity to improve international cooperation in connection with migration, including preventing illegal migration, fighting against human trafficking and human smuggling as well as protecting the rights of Estonian people in other countries.

The global migration compact emphasises the fundamental principle that each country has the sovereign right to decide about their migration policy themselves in conformity with international law, and the declaration emphasises principles contained in the UN compact that the Riigikogu supports. The Riigikogu also expresses the conviction that the objectives of the compact will help combat as well as reduce illegal migration, including by mitigating the negative consequences for victims.

According to the draft declaration, the Riigikogu supports the adoption of the UN Global Compact on Migration.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla



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