Pro Patria continues to oppose UN migration compact, considers next steps

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Pro Patria Secretary General Priit Sibul. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The junior coalition party Pro Patria announced on Thursday that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not have the government's mandate to endorse the UN Global Compact for Migration, and non-government mandated actions will have "explicit consequences."

Pro Patria has done everything in its power to halt accession to the migration compact, Pro Patria Secretary General Priit Sibul was quoted by party spokespeople as saying.

"Due to the Pro Patria ministers' opposition, the government has not authorised the Minister of Foreign Affairs to approve the compact on migration," Mr Sibul said. "Thus, the Minister of Foreign Affairs in his actions is based on the Riigikogu's endorsement alone; he does not have the government's explicit mandate for the UN vote. Pro Patria's clear objective is to prevent the government's endorsement of the migration compact. Thus far, the party has succeeded."

According to the secretary general, it is a fact that there were not a sufficient number of votes in the current Riigikogu to prevent accession to the compact.

"In this matter, it does not make much of a difference whether Sven Mikser or Marina Kaljurand is the foreign minister — both of them support accession to an accord that is detrimental to Estonia," he said. "Pro Patria's message is that acting without the government's mandate will have explicit consequences."

The UN General Assembly on Wednesday night endorsed the Global Compact for Migration. The accord was endorsed with a 152-5 vote with 12 abstentions. Irsael, the Czech Republic, Poland, the US and Hungary voted against the compact.

Reinsalu: All options are being considered

Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu (Pro Patria) likewise said that is party is considering "all options" in connection to the consequences of Estonia's support of the migration compact.

At the government press conference on Thursday, a journalist from Delfi asked whether Pro Patria planned on joining the Conservative People's Party of Estonia's (EKRE) motion of no confidence against Mr Mikser.

"Without blaming him personally, as he was acting on the mandate of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, this was a poor vote on behalf of the ambassador of the Republic of Estonia," Mr Reinsalu said. "The fact that there was no Estonian representative in Marrakesh was reasonable. And we are also glad the government did not make a decision. We are now considering all steps; all possibilities are being considered."

In response to a followup question asking how exactly Pro Patria plans on responding to EKRE's proposal to join the no-confidence motion against Mr Mikser, Mr Reinsalu said, "I responded to you, but my response isn't good enough for you. We are working on making sure that this compact doesn't lead to any legal or political consequences for the Republic of Estonia."

EKRE awaiting Pro Patria's support

The opposition EKRE, which organised a protest by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday ahead of the UN General Assembly vote, has also begun collecting signatures in support of a no-confidence motion against the foreign minister. The Pro Patria parliamentary group, meanwhile, has yet to decide whether or not to join the motion against Mr Mikser, who is a member of a fellow coalition party.

"We don't know what Pro Patria is doing," EKRE chairman Mart Helme told ETV news broadcast Aktuaalne kaamera. "We know that they are bluffing. If they joined, then we'd have 21 signatures." He added that his party has also discussed the matter with a couple of independent MPs.

Mr Sibul, meanwhile, said that thus far he has only heard whispers of signatures in the hallways of the Riigikogu.

"If EKRE launches something like this, then I hope that it also reaches those whose signatures are needed," said the party secretary general. "I have only heard about it in the corridors and from you, but EKRE has not come seeking signatures."

The opposition Reform Party, meanwhile, likely won't be joining in on the no-confidence motion.

"This is a controversial topic," said Reform parliamentary group chairman Jürgen Ligi. "Assessing Sven Mikser's activity, he was negligent and indifferent on the matter, but not all the way. A poor job the part of the foreign minister, but I don't believe that this is grounds for a vote of no confidence vote against him."


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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