Belgian Government Collapses Over UN Migration Pact

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The Belgian government has split apart after Prime Minister Charles Michel ignored the objections of his ruling coalition’s biggest party and insisted he would sign the UN migration pact.

The Flemish nationalist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) party quit the government following crisis talks over the weekend, prompting Michel to announce he would travel to Marrakesh to sign the controversial compact representing a minority government.

Stepping down as interior minister on Sunday, the N-VA’s Jan Jambon told local media “I think that, formally speaking, we are stepping down. We said that if the coalition goes to Marrakesh, it will be without us.”

The patriotic party had previously produced a list of 30 objections to signing the so-called Global Compact on Safe and Orderly Migration including a lack of differentiation between illegal and legal flows, and questions over whether the agreement, which declares mass immigration to be “inevitable, desirable and necessary”, could have a chilling effect on objective journalism.

Vice Prime Minister Alexander De Croo rebuffed the N-VA for branding the parties set to sign Belgium up to the UN document as a ‘Marrakesh coalition’, asserting that ministers will continue to have “firm but humane” migration policies because “no one in this government wants to pursue open [borders]”.

Pro-mass migration NGOs and left-wing politicians rejoiced on Sunday, however, after it was announced N-VA immigration minister, Theo Franken, would be replaced by the liberal health minister, Maggie De Block, as she immediately announced she would seek to abolish quotas limiting the number of asylum applications to 50 per day.

Green party chairman and UN compact advocate Meyrem Almaci, who has been fiercely critical of N-VA’s previous influence on Belgian immigration policy, celebrated the reshuffle on social media, tweeting that De Block’s appointment was a victory for “humanity”.

Kati Verstrepen, head of the left-wing NGO League for Human Rights, praised the “political courage” of Michel and the parties which backed the agreement, commenting that their support for the pact shows they “are of the opinion that human rights must be the guiding principle when devising immigration policy”.

In recent weeks a growing list of countries, some of the most recent of which include Italy, Slovakia, and Latvia, have pulled out of the global compact before it is due to be formally ratified on December 10-11.

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