Government fears the loss of Austrian sovereignty on immigration policy.
Austria will not sign the United Nations agreement on migration in December, joining the United States and Hungary in backing out of the global pact.
“We have decided that we will not join the pact,” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told ORF radio Wednesday, according to Reuters and German media, citing the government’s concerns over a blurring of the lines between legal and illegal migration.
The 34-page U.N. treaty on migration lays out a common approach to international migration, and includes 23 objectives to better organize the flow of refugees and define their rights more precisely. Participating countries agree, for example, to limit the pressure on countries with many migrants and to promote the self-reliance of newcomers.
While the pact is not legally binding, Kurz said that he fears the treaty would be at the expense of countries’ sovereignty.
In July, all 193 U.N. member nations, except the U.S., expressed their support for the agreement. Later, the Hungarian government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán renounced the agreement. Poland is considering withdrawing, too.
The U.N. migration pact is due to be signed in December in Marrakech and voted on next year. Austria will not send a representative to Morocco and will abstain from the 2019 vote.
“We will … abstain in the vote at the U.N. General Assembly in the year 2019,” said Kurz, an immigration hard-liner who governs in coalition with the far-right Freedom Party.
Kurz has previously joined other EU countries, including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, in pushing back against compulsory refugee quotas within the bloc.
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