A new survey has revealed that half of Austrians support the conservative-populist government’s move to opt out of the United Nations migration pact with only 29 per cent saying the move did not make sense.
Just under one-third of the respondents of the 500 person survey, 31 per cent, said they agreed “very much” with the decision to get out of the pact and another 18 said they were “more likely to agree” with the move while 13 per cent said they had no opinion, and another nine claimed not to know what the pact even was, Kronen Zeitung reports.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, head of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) along with his coalition partner Vice Chancellor and Freedom Party (FPÖ) leader Heinz-Christian Strache, said that they disagreed with 17 out of the 23 goals set by the pact such as making it easier for asylum seekers and migrants to access the labour markets and welfare systems in countries supporting the pact.
Vice Chancellor Strache defended the move to pull out of the pact earlier this month saying, “We are only responsible to our Austrian population as government officials. Austrian sovereignty has top priority for us, this must be preserved and protected.”
Austria Follows Trump and Withdraws from UN Migration Treaty to Preserve Sovereignty https://t.co/RmzgXwrDzI
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 31, 2018
“In the government’s programme, we have promised to stop illegal migration, to protect citizens’ safety, and to protect the borders,” he added.
The rejection of the pact by Austria has also sparked debate within the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) headed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on whether Germany should also consider pulling out of the pact.
Conservative Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn has been one of the most vocal critics of the pact, as well as the past mass migration policies of Dr Merkel.
“The debate on the migration pact is still pending in the parliamentary group,” Spahn said and added, “It is important that Germany retains its sovereignty to control and limit migration.”
Spahn recently announced his candidacy to replace Merkel as CDU leader at an upcoming conference in December following the Chancellor’s announcement that she would be stepping down as party leader.