The majority of German parliamentarians however, sought to clarify that the international agreement does not imply any legal obligations for Germany. But according to constitutional lawyers, this is ineffective as international law may be binding. International courts could rely on the Compact that German jurisdiction may ignore.
While giving their support, parliamentarians called on the government to ensure that it did not “restrict the national sovereignty and the right of Germany to decide its migration policy itself”.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) was the first speaker to vigorously defend the UN agreement. “This pact is also in the German interest,” he said. He underlined above all, the current involvement of countries that previously had “low standards”. In addition Maas claimed, migration is essentially global and beyond that inevitable: “Migration is as old as humanity.”
Maas rejected allegations that the Federal government had not informed the public soon enough. The government has been committed to transparency from the beginning, he said. The Bundestag was also involved and had already discussed it in April.
The AfD had previously demanded a roll-call vote on the issue. The migration Compact propagated “conditional immigration”, said AfD expert Gottfried Curio, in protest of the agreement. “According to the pact, anyone who somehow comes to Germany gets access to the social system and we should pay for this madness,” said Curio. “Millions of African wanderers are sitting, waiting on packed suitcases.”
The pact is a “Trojan horse”, which brings new problems, Curio said. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) wants to hide her “catastrophe of 2015 in a global migration plan and subsequently justify it and above all for the future in the long run.”
The agreement does not regulate and order migration, but expands it to be “boundless and chaotic”. Migration is not a source of wealth, as the Compact claims, “but of chaos, violence and repression”.
The Leader of Merkel’s youth movement Paul Ziemiak attacked Curio’s remarks. “We want this pact to help us that no more, but fewer people are looking for the way to Germany and Europe,” said the CDU member of parliament. “This pact is not binding, but it sets goals.”
At the request of AfD MP Martin Hebner, who had initiated the debate in the Bundestag a few weeks ago on why Germany should accept the Compact when other countries are leaving it, Ziemiak replied: “I am a member of the German people – and that is why when we say that something is right and serves this people, that we stand by it, no matter what other countries do.”
The Compact has been met with criticism in the CDU in recent days, but the ruling coalition of the conservative CDU/CSU Union and the Social Democrats voted almost unanimously on Tuesday in favor of the Compact, ahead of the session.