WARSAW, Poland – The Polish government said Tuesday that it will not support a global compact seeking international cooperation on migration, citing national sovereignty as it joins countries including Hungary, Austria and the United States in rejecting it.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which won’t be legally binding, was finalized under U.N. auspices in July. It is due to be formally approved at a Dec. 10-11 meeting in Marrakech, Morocco.
After a meeting of the Polish Cabinet, the government press office released a statement saying the document fails to meet “Poland’s demands regarding the confirmation of adequately strong guarantees of the sovereign right to decide who the countries accept in their territory and the distinction between legal and illegal migration.”
Poland’s government has taken a strong anti-migrant position. It won power in 2015 amid Europe’s migration crisis promising not to accept any Muslim migrants, describing them as a risk to the nation’s security and Christian identity.
Following that migrant wave, all 193 U.N. member states in September 2016, including the United States under President Barack Obama, adopted a declaration saying no country can manage international migration on its own, and agreed to launch a process leading to the adoption of a global compact in 2018.
But last December, the United States said it was ending its participation in negotiations on the compact, stating that numerous provisions were “inconsistent with U.S. immigration and refugee policies” under President Donald Trump.
The compact has 23 objectives that seek to boost cooperation to manage migration and numerous actions ranging from technical issues like the portability of earnings by migrant workers to reducing the detention of migrants.
Hungary withdrew in July and Austria in October, while reservations are being expressed in other countries, too, including Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said then that the pact was contrary to his country’s interests because while it had some positive aims, like fighting human trafficking, overall it considered migration an unstoppable and positive phenomenon worthy of support.
Austria’s interior minister, Herbert Kickl, has denounced what he called “an almost irresponsibly naive pro-migration tone.”