“Slovakia will not support this United Nations pact under any circumstances and will not agree with it,” Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini told reporters in Brussels. He was attending the summit where EU leaders approved Britain’s withdrawal agreement from the EU.
“As head of government, I reject the text of the migration pact and I refuse that it be applied in Slovakia,” Pellegrini later told the Slovakian newspaper Sme.
Pellegrini, incidentally has Italian roots. His great-grandfather Leopoldo Pellegrini, came to the Austro-Hungarian Empire to participate in the construction of the railway network. He married a local girl.
Various German media outlets reported on Pellegrini’s decision that could lead to a government crisis in the country. A Slovakia rejection of the migration pact could lead to a shake-up of Pellegrini’s government.
Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak threatened to resign in case his government withdraws from the agreement. He was serving as President of the United Nations General Assembly when the Migration Compact was adopted. Lajcak has warned against a “populist race for votes”.
But Pellegrini’s stance means that the four states of the Visegrad Group – Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – have rejected the agreement. They join Estonia and Austria as well as the USA, Australia and Israel in expressing their refusal.
In Germany, Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (both CSU) defended the pact. Söder considers the agreement to be meaningful, he told the Welt am Sonntag. His party should not follow the AfD in dismissing the UN agreement, he argued.
Seehofer also defended German participation in the UN Migration Compact. “If we give in on this issue with the pressure of the AfD, there will be no stopping next time,” said Seehofer, cited by German weekly Spiegel.
He is in favor of an open debate, but made it clear: “I am an advocate of this agreement.” It will help to curb human trafficking, he added. According to Seehofer, deportations of criminals to Syria should not happen either. “At the moment you cannot deport anyone to any region of Syria,” he told the news magazine.
Earlier, the candidate for the office of CDU party chairman, Jens Spahn, had called for a vote on the international agreement at the party conference on December 7 and 8 in Hamburg.
A petition against the Migration Pact , which critics accuse of establishing a worldwide right to immigration, has been signed more than 77 000 times on the website of the Bundestag.