More than 150 states have registered for the conference on the adoption of the Global Pact for sure, orderly and regular migration of Marakesh [Note: the reference document in English is entitled Global Pact but the UN translates it as the World Pact].

In his introductory remarks, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, took great pains to denounce the “false information” on the Pact. In particular, he emphasized that the text is not binding and it will not limit state sovereignty.

However this is precisely the problem: the Pact will not limit the sovereignty of States that have already partially renounced it by admitting in their juridical system that international texts have superiority over national texts.

What does the expression “not binding” mean? For a signatory state, it means that it will not have to bring its domestic laws in line with the Pact. However, for claimants it means that they can assert that the international text is superior to the national law and thus that the Pact applies.

This is why 15 states (Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, the United States, Israel, Hungary, Holland, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Serbia, Slovakia and Switzerland) decided not to participate in the conference.

In the case of Switzerland, the Federal Council participated in the negotiations but withdrew at the last minute.

The case of Belgium demonstrates the importance of the Pact: it is not a document with only declaratory value as Mr Guterres claims it to be. In Brussels, the Prime Minister, Charles Michel by-passed constitutional provisions to be able to sign it: the NVA, one party of the Coalition in power, rejected the Pact and resigned from office. As the government then became a minority government, it should have fallen. However the Prime Minister stayed in power and filled the places of the ministers that had quit. Only after doing so did he inform the King of the ministerial coup.

The Belgian Prime Minister also went to Marrakesh to sign the Pact without first obtaining a vote of confidence from its Parliament.

Anoosha Boralessa