European Union External Action

EU Statement – United Nations Global Compact for Migration: General Statement on the Zero Draft

New York, 20/02/2018 - 21:43, UNIQUE ID: 180307_2
Statements on behalf of the EU

20 February 2018, New York – European Union Statement delivered by H. E. Ambassador Mr. João Vale de Almeida, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the opening session of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration: General Statement on the Zero Draft

Let me start by expressing my sincere appreciation for the great work Ambassador Lauber and Ambassador Gomez Camacho and your team, have done to bring us thus far. A word of thanks also to Louise Arbour for the work during the preparatory phase of our discussion.


Throughout the process that we are launching today, and as we prepare our detailed positions, the EU and its Member States are going to support you in finding a balanced outcome for this negotiation.


I would also like to thank all delegations in this room that were engaged in the preparatory process and the discussions that led to this zero draft. The coming months might reveal some divergence in our positions. But, I’m very confident that they will also demonstrate to the world that we are united in our efforts to find solutions to improve the lives of  millions of people. Safe, orderly and regular migration needs more international cooperation.


In your draft, we welcome the focus on human rights and a people-centered approach that is especially sensitive to people in vulnerable situations, in particular children, and that takes into account gender aspects. We also welcome the attention to development and we appreciate the suggestions for concrete actions to break the business model of migrant smugglers and combat trafficking in human beings.


Let me outline a few aspects that we would like to be more thoroughly reflected in the Global Compact as we go forward:


  •  First, since the aim of the Global Compact is to enhance international cooperation  on safe, orderly and regular migration and reduce irregular migration – and the  negative implications it has for countries of origin, transit, and destination as well as for migrants themselves – , the text should better distinguish between regular and irregular migrants. It should avoid any language that might be interpreted as justification or even an incentive for irregular migration.


  • The second aspect that should be better reflected in the text is the responsibility of states towards their own citizens. This includes, first and foremost, addressing drivers of irregular migration and creating opportunities for all, in particular the youth. In this regard, we firmly believe that international development cooperation plays a key role in creating good living conditions for people in their home countries. This responsibility also entails the obligation of states – under international law – to take back their nationals without any conditions and actively cooperate to facilitate returns and readmission.
Editorial Sections: