Belgian Govt Faces Fresh Crisis as Flemish Party Rejects UN Migrant Pact

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - OCTOBER 21: Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel arrives at the Council of the European Union on the second day of a two day summit on October 21, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. Theresa May is attending her first EU Council meeting as the British Prime Minister. The government's …
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 The Belgian government faces a possible crisis after the Flemish nationalist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) announced they would oppose the UN Migration Pact that Prime Minister Charles Michel has already promised to sign.

The N-VA, which is a junior coalition partner in the current Belgian government, has vowed to refuse to give their support for Belgium signing the controversial pact which could lead to them leaving the government and collapsing it in the process, La Libre reports.

Asylum and migration minister Theo Francken, a member of the N-VA, previously came out with a list of 30 different objections to the migration pact including issues over legal and illegal migration, and questions about its effect on objective journalism.

“With the N-VA in the government, Belgium will not approve the pact and we will vote against it,” said N-VA group leader Peter De Roover on Wednesday. He later refused to answer whether or not the party would pull out of the government as a result.

The Belgian House Foreign Relations Committee ended up passing approval on the UN Migration Pact with support from opposition parties on Wednesday, granting Belgian Prime Minister Michel grounds to sign the document in Marrakesh on Monday. However, he will need to pass another vote on Thursday in parliament to confirm Belgium’s stance on the issue.

While many have touted that the UN Migration Pact is not legally binding, Belgian law professor Pierre d’Argent has argued that it could create a framework to be used in cases by both lawyers and judges.

“The pact itself says that it establishes a framework of legally non-binding cooperation. It is a political instrument that does not constitute an international treaty.

“It creates neither legal obligations of international law between states, nor rights for the benefit of individuals,” D’Argent said but added, “One can imagine that in some cases before international jurisdictions, lawyers use this pact as a reference tool to try to guide them.”

The pact was revealed to have been largely drafted by the German government under Chancellor Angela Merkel who, in internal documents, used the phrase “politically binding” to describe the agreement.

So far multiple countries, such as the U.S., Austria, Poland, Hungary, and Italy have all either rejected the pact outright or have sent the question of support to their national parliament to be voted on.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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