Merkel defends UN migration pact amid party split on issue

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Merkel defends UN migration pact amid party split on issue
Angela Merkel in the Bundestag on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday defended the controversial UN migration pact in the Bundestag, as the issue continued to split her party.


"This pact for migration, as well as the pact for refugees, is the right response to...solve global problems internationally and together," the outgoing centre right Christian Democrats (CDU) leader said on Wednesday during the general debate on the federal budget.

The refugee crisis had shown "how important it is to solve flight but also migration in the context of the international context and not to believe that any country could do it alone," Merkel added.

The United Nation's Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration marks the first time the world organization has agreed on a list of global measures to tackle the challenges involved in migration for individual migrants, and at the same time to maximize benefits for the countries taking in immigrants.

The agreement is being formed to deal with the huge number of people from across the world who are leaving their countries to seek refuge elsewhere because of conflict, poverty or other reasons. Germany played a key role in the height of the refugee and migration crisis in 2015, which has resulted in a polarization of opinions across the country. 

Among the calls, the pact urges countries to help improve the conditions in migrants' countries of origin to help bring down the number of people who want to move, as well as helping migrants assimilate better in their new country.

The agreement is to be sealed at a summit meeting in Morocco on December 10th and 11th.

A further pact on dealing with refugees is also planned. 

However, not all countries, including the U.S, Australia and Italy, want to sign up to the non-legally binding agreement.

The pact is controversial in Merkel's CDU, with politicians raising concerns about Germany signing into it. Health minister Jens Spahn, one of the lead candidates bidding to take Merkel's seat as head of the party, said there needed to be more clarification on the pact. He wants to discuss it further at the party conference on December 7th.

Merkel said that the pact was in "national interest" because it could improve the conditions in the world for flight and labour migration.

"When stadiums are built in Qatar, we want (...) construction workers working there to be treated well, not exploited, not child labour," she said.
But she also stressed that the pact is not legally binding and does not affect national legislation.


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