Italy bows out of meeting on UN migration pact

November, 2018

Italy's parliament will have the last word on the UN migration pact, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on November 28, so its officials will not attend a conference next month to ratify it.

Italy "reserves the right to adhere to this document or not only after the parliament has decided," Conte said.

Italian officials would therefore not attend December's UN conference in Marrakesh on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, where delegates there will formally adopt it.

"The migration pact is a document that deals with issues and questions our citizens are concerned by," an Italian government statement said.

"For this reason, we think it advisable to task parliament with a debate and the final choice once talks have concluded," it added.

The statement came as Italian deputies were expected to adopt a draft immigration law Wednesday backed by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, head of the far-right League.

It would tighten immigration policies, in part by replacing a current two-year humanitarian residency permit obtained by around 25 percent of migrants, with permits of shorter duration.

Migrants considered dangerous could also be expelled via a new emergency procedure.

Conte's statement on the UN pact was the latest sign that some countries who signed up to the agreement in July after 18 months of talks are now having second thoughts.

A week ago, Switzerland said it would postpone its decision on the UN pact owing to opposition from parliamentary committees.

Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Slovakia, and the United States have also either publicly disavowed the pact or notified the United Nations that they are withdrawing.

Source: France 24