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At today’s additional sitting, the Riigikogu passed with 41 votes in favour and 27 against the Statement of the Riigikogu “On the UN Global Compact for Migration”, submitted by 39 members of the Riigikogu.

According to the Statement of the Riigikogu (758 AE) “On the UN Global Compact for Migration”, the UN Global Compact for Migration is a non-legally binding, cooperative framework; this has also been emphasised by the Chancellor of Justice of the Republic of Estonia. It is a declaration that has been jointly negotiated by the member states of the United Nations and it will provide an opportunity to improve international cooperation on migration, including by preventing irregular migration and combating trafficking in and smuggling of persons, and to protect the rights of the people of Estonia in foreign countries. In the Statement, the Riigikogu emphasises the fundamental principle highlighted in the Global Compact for Migration that all states have a right to shape their national migration policy in conformity with international law. The Statement points out the principles of the Global Compact for Migration that the Riigikogu emphasises. The Riigikogu expresses a hope that the objectives set out in the Global Compact for Migration contribute to combating and reducing irregular migration, among other things mitigating the negative consequences for the victims. According to the Statement, the Riigikogu of the Republic of Estonia supports the adoption of the UN Global Compact for Migration.

During the debate, Enn Eesmaa took the floor on behalf of the Centre Party Faction, Andres Herkel on behalf of the Free Party Faction, Jürgen Ligi on behalf of the Reform Party Faction, Eiki Nestor on behalf of the Social Democratic Party Faction, Helir-Valdor Seeder on behalf of the Faction Isamaa and Mart Helme on behalf of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction.

When motions to amend were reviewed, a motion submitted by the Free Party Faction was supported with 86 votes in favour. The words “the Global Compact for Migration emphasises” in the beginning of the second sub-indent of the Statement were replaced so that the wording of the second sub-indent was as follows: “The Estonian Riigikogu emphasises the fundamental principle highlighted in the Global Compact for Migration that all states have a sovereign right to shape their national migration policy in conformity with international law.”

The motion to amend submitted by the Free Party Faction to replace the word “supporting” with the word “approach to” in the third sub-indent of the Statement was also supported with 87 votes in favour. One members of the Riigikogu was against it.

The Riigikogu also supported with 87 votes in favour the motion submitted by the Free Party Faction to replace the word “conviction” with the word “hope” in the last but one sub-indent of the Statement.

The motion by the lead committee to replace the sub-indent “the Riigikogu of the Republic of Estonia supports the adoption of the UN Global Compact for Migration” with the following sub-indent in the text of the Statement was not supported: “The Riigikogu considers it necessary that the Government of the Republic decide on the accession to the Global Compact for Migration, taking into account the principles described in this Statement and the positions in the negotiations on the Global Compact for Migration, adopted by the Government of the Republic on 22 March 2018.”. 43 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of the motion and 52 were against.

The motion by the lead committee to amend the text of the Statement by adding a new sub-indent worded as follows was also not supported: “The Riigikogu is convinced that the Government of the Republic will organise the implementation of the guidelines given by the Riigikogu under clause 8 (1) 12) of the Foreign Relations Act.” 94 members of the Riigikogu were against the motion and none was in favour.

The Statement of the Riigikogu “On the UN Global Compact for Migration” was submitted by members of the Riigikogu Jevgeni Ossinovski, Eiki Nestor, Kalvi Kõva, Marianne Mikko, Jaanus Marrandi, Inara Luigas, Heljo Pikhof, Kersti Sarapuu, Tiit Terik, Mihhail Korb, Heimar Lenk, Erki Savisaar, Märt Sults, Enn Eesmaa, Anneli Ott, Siret Kotka-Repinski, Vladimir Velman, Dmitri Dmitrijev, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Igor Kravtšenko, Helmut Hallemaa, Marika Tuus-Laul, Eevi Paasmäe, Toomas Väinaste, Valeri Korb, Rainer Vakra, Toomas Paur, Jaanus Karilaid, Karin Tammemägi, Aadu Must, Viktor Vassiljev, Helmen Kütt, Toomas Jürgenstein, Hardi Volmer, Toomas Vitsut, Barbi Pilvre, Hannes Hanso, Monika Haukanõmm and Tanel Talve.

The Riigikogu amended the agenda for today’s sitting by adding the political statement on the continuity of Estonia’s foreign policy by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser and the political statement on the Statement of the Riigikogu on the UN Global Compact for Migration by the Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser explained that the UN Global Compact for Migration was a non-legally binding framework document that gave the 193 UN Member States an opportunity to discuss the issue of migration as a global challenge with countries of origin, transit and destination of migration. Mikser underlined that the compact for migration was not an international agreement and it was not legally binding for either Estonia or other countries. “It does not deprive us of our sovereign right to shape our migration and border policy. It will not make migration a human right. Nor will it bring additional immigrants to Estonia compared to the quantity and number that could otherwise come here,” Mikser said.

The Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu said that migration compact was not insignificant from a legal standpoint. In his statement, the Minister relied on an article by Anne Peters, international expert, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg. Reinsalu said that, in Peters’s opinion, the compact had a connection with the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. “Estonia has not acceded to these acts in clear knowledge that we wish to preserve our decision-making right in migration issues. This has indeed been a clear foreign policy agenda of the Republic of Estonia,” Reinsalu said.

During the debate, Jürgen Ligi took the floor on behalf of the Reform Party Faction, Martin Helme on behalf of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction, Hannes Hanso on behalf of the Social Democratic Party Faction and Jüri Adams on behalf of the Free Party Faction.

At the beginning of today’s sitting, the Minister of the Interior Katri Raik took her oath of office.

The sitting ended at 6.34 p.m.

Photos of the sitting.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian).

Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
(NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service
Kristi Sobak
Phone +372 631 6592, +372 5190 6975
E-mail kristi.sobak@riigikogu.ee
Questions press@riigikogu.ee

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