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POLAND: Warsaw rejects UN Migration Pact

Last year, 193 UN member states backed a proposal of a United Nations pact to regulate the treatment of migrants worldwide. The only country to back out was the U.S. Since then, other states like Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Estonia and Czechia – last week – backed out from the agreement. Yesterday, the governments of Poland and Israel decided that they will not back the agreement drafted for the conference in Marrakesh for 10-11 December. The Polish government’s statement argued that the document did not fulfil postulates on differentiating between legal and illegal migration and did not provide for the sovereign right of states to decide on movement through its borders.  

The so-called Global Compact agreement is the first document regulating the international movement of peoples. Its powers will not be binding, it is rather meant to popularise standards and ease international cooperation. Still, states which rejected it did so mainly on a matter of principle rather than practice. Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party has frequently reiterated that it opposes the EU’s refugee relocation scheme and seeks to curb migration flows, especially those from North Africa and the Middle East. Still, this year Poland has accepted one of the largest numbers of economic migrants in the EU, mainly from Ukraine. While the government gains on the anti-migration narrative, Warsaw understands it needs workers and has recently adjusted laws to ease employment of migrants from the East.