Commission regrets Austria's decision not to sign the global migration pact

Austria to withdraw from UN migration treaty

Austria joins US, Hungary, to withdraw from UN migrant pact - English - on

Concerns linked to an influx of migrants dominated last year's parliamentary election and helped propel Kurz's conservatives to power in a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party.

"We view some points of the migration pact very critically, such as the mixing up of seeking protection with labour migration", said Kurz, who argues that migrants rescued in the Mediterranean should not be brought straight to Europe.

"Migration is not and can not become a human right", added Strache, the Freedom Party's leader.

Austria will also abstain during the vote in the (UN) General Assembly in September next year, and hand over to the UN a statement, demanding that the government's position be recorded. "We will, therefore, do everything to maintain the sovereignty of our country and ensure that we as the Republic of Austria can decide for ourselves on migration issues". The EU Commission regretted the decision.

"We have examined the possibilities in detail, and the Federal Government finally came to an understanding that Austria... would not sign the United Nations migration pact", Kurz said, as quoted by the government's press service. 'It can not be that someone receives a right to migration because of the climate or poverty'. While it aims to foster global cooperation on migration, stating that, "no State can address migration alone", the pact also "reaffirms the sovereign right of States to determine their national migration policy and their prerogative to govern migration within their jurisdiction, in conformity with worldwide law".

Austria will in this way follow the example U.S. and Hungary in backing out of the agreement.

But Mr Kurz, who stood on a divisive anti-immigration platform before taking office last December, said: "Austria will not join the United Nations migration pact". The Austrian government previously called the text of the document "too vague", adding that "it leaves important questions unanswered".

The government also said the pact would restrict national sovereignty, Austrian media reported.

Austria, current holder of the EU's rotating presidency, accepted one per cent of its population in asylum seekers during the 2015 migrant crisis which saw more than a million people enter Europe from the Middle East and Africa. The list of the opponents of the pact might grow even further as Poland, Australia and the United Kingdom are also skeptical about the document.

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