30 Nov 2018

Some EU governments leaving the UN Global Compact on Migration

A contradiction in terms?

Sergio Carrera / Karel Lannoo / Marco Stefan / Lina Vosyliute

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In this contribution, Sergio Carrera, Karel Lannoo, Marco Stefan and Lina Vosyliute explore how recent moves of some EU governments are in contradiction with the terms of long-standing commitments.

The United Nations (UN) Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration provides a non-legally binding political instrument for deepening and strengthening international cooperation and coordination on migration policies. A few EU member states and their interior ministries have recently announced decisions not to sign this document at the upcoming inter-governmental conference to be held on 10 and 11 December in Marrakech (Morocco).

This Policy Insight examines the scope and significance of the Global Compact for EU Member States. It argues that the Compact does not create new legally enforceable obligations or a ‘human right for immigration’. By not adopting it, EU member states will actually have ‘less national sovereignty’ at a time when ensuring safer and regular immigration pathways to Europe is high on their agendas. They will also be neglecting the human rights of their own citizens when they travel, live or reside abroad.

Regardless of their position on Global Compact, all EU member states are already under a clear obligation to protect and uphold international and European Union law and human rights standards for all migrants and refugees. Human rights are a condition for legitimate sovereignty. Effective migration management can and should go hand-to-hand with rule of law and human rights. The adoption of the Global Compact on Migration, along with the accompanying Global Compact on Refugees, would serve European governments well in their interest to implement fairer and greater solidarity-based sharing of responsibilities on migration and asylum policies.

Sergio Carrera is Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Justice and Home Affairs unit at CEPS and part-time Professor at the Migration Policy Centre, European University Institute in Florence. Karel Lannoo is the Chief Executive Officer at CEPS. Marco Stefan and Lina Vosyliute are Research Fellows in the Justice and Home Affairs unit at CEPS.

CEPS Policy Insights offer analyses of a wide range of key policy questions facing Europe. As an institution, CEPS takes no position on questions of European policy. Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed are attributable only to the authors in a personal capacity and not to any institution with which they are associated.