Several people have criticized Sebastian Kurz’s Austrian Chancellor at the plenary session of the European Parliament (EP) in Strasbourg on Tuesday for rejecting the UN migration package, but there were those who provided the same support.
During the debate on the Austrian Presidency of the EU in the previous six months, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, expressed his incomprehensibility that Austria had not voted in December.
“I didn’t understand what was happening, nor do I understand,” said Juncker, who, like Kurz, is a member of the European People’s Party (EPP), a center-right force.
The head of the Brussels body commended his speech with the Austrian Presidency, saying he was “impressive” in the second half of 2018. He emphasized that the only significant weakness was the “negative signals” from Vienna on the UN migration package.
He stressed that several people were criticizing this resolution, but they are mistaken as saying that this issue has no place in the current debate.
Manfred Weber, EPP leader of the EPP, did not go out of the matter, but praised the Austrian Presidency, which he believed had even exceeded his expectations.
However, on behalf of the Social Democratic Group, Maria-Joao Rodriguez condemned the fact that Austria, following its example, had abstained from voting on the migration package.
Ska Keller, co-chairman of the Green Party, expressed his opinion that the move was damaging the European Union.
Dimitrios Papadimulis spoke on behalf of the European Left – North Green Left (GUE-NGL) on the left-hand side of the horseshoe, according to which Austria had brought a great shame to the EU with rejection.
On the other hand, Jörg Meuthen, a Europe of Freedom and Democracy Movement (EFDD) politician, believed that the Austrian government was boldly opposed to the “catastrophic” convention.
Harald Vlimsky, the Austrian representative of the Europe of Freedom and Nations Group (ENF), said the vast majority of the Austrian people opposed the agreement. “We don’t want to include this misspelled text in our legal system,” he said.
Among others, Sebastian Kurz spoke about the process of ending the British EU membership, internal market regulation, the budget, and the successful management of the migration situation. In connection with the latter, he stated that he had tried not to continue the debate on mandatory refugee quotas, but presented a new proposal for a solution.
The Chancellor responded to the criticism that, in his view, disagreements could be accepted even within a party family, the point being progress in important areas.
Five countries voted against the UN migration package, the Czech Republic, the United States, Israel, Poland and Hungary, and twelve abstained.
The 193 countries of the World Organization agreed in the autumn of 2016 to create a non-binding migration package aimed at securing immigration and channeling it into legal channels, reducing illegal migration, speeding up the expulsion of unauthorized persons and strengthening integration.
Opponents argued that the treaty violates national sovereignty, shows migration as a positive phenomenon, and does not make a proper distinction between asylum seekers and economic immigrants.