International Development Minister Alistair Burt said the UK “is supportive” of the UN’s Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration document which is the subject of a major UK meeting next week. MEP Marcel de Graaff announced today: “It is declaring migration as a human right so it will, in effect, become impossible to criticise Mrs Merkel’s welcome migrants politics without being at risk of being jailed for hate speech.” But it has been pointed out that accepting the principles could technically see EU citizens in court for criticising migration between EU member states. Mr Burt said: “The UK Government is supportive of the UN’s Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, both as a step forward in international co-operation to tackle irregular migration and as a framework to help us deliver our commitments under the sustainable development goals.
“As a leading voice in the negotiations, the UK Government secured positive outcomes in the final text which clearly support the Prime Minister’s main objectives as set out in her speech to the United Nations General Assembly.”
He added: “This includes a clear differentiation between refugees and migrants; the recognition of a state’s right to control their borders and proposals to help states build capacity in this area; and an explicit acknowledgement of states’ responsibility to accept the return of their nationals who no longer have the right to remain elsewhere.”
The document, to be signed in Morocco, seeks to make immigration a universal human right and has been met with fury by Italy, a nation that took in the second highest number of asylum seekers behind Germany last year. Italy is boycotting the meeting.
Italian deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini said: “Just like the Swiss, who carried forward the Global Compact up until yesterday and then said ‘everyone stop’, the Italian government will not sign anything and will not go to Marrakech.
“The floor of parliament must debate it. The Italian government will allow parliament to decide.”
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte warned the migration document tackles issues citizens are divided on.
Mr Conte said: “The Global Migration Compact is a document that raises issues and questions that many citizens have strong feelings about.”
Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Israel, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland have also stated they will not sign the agreement.
Slovakia’s Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini has said his government would “never” accept the pact because of its take on migration as a generally positive phenomenon, which contradicts Slovakia’s will to distinguish among the migrants.
Asylum to Italy rose by four percent from 121,185 in 2016 to 126,550 in 2017.
In 2015 Angela Merkel pushed for an open-door migration policy across the EU. Critics said the move was motivated by Germany’s need to boost its workforce by at least one million.