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Statement of the President of the Republic on the UN Global Compact for Migration

15.11.2018

“At least now the Government of the Republic’s stance on the UN Compact for Migration is finally clear.

For a week, the unexpected discord between the governing parties has provided fuel for societal hysterics and lying and hurting people, sometimes even deliberately by linking the compact to things that are not true, but work well to divide the society, such as the question of refugees, which is not actually addressed in this declaration. Indeed, this could be brushed off as ‘regular election campaigning’, but I disagree.

We cannot accept that regular election campaigning is something between fake news and hate speech, which involves turning our backs on the key features of the Estonian foreign policy that we have shaped and developed together for 27 years. The people of Estonia deserve better.

We also need to talk about the crux of the matter. We need to talk about why Estonia joined all of the other world countries two years ago in admitting that we need a better, shared understanding of what migration is. We cannot bury our heads in the sand and hope that this makes migration cease to be. We could walk away from the table, but by doing so we only forfeit the opportunity to have our say instead of solving the problem. Maintaining a world order that is built on international agreements and rules is crucial for Estonia and if we lose our faith in them, it is difficult to demand that others retain it in the future.

The UN Global Compact on Migration improves understanding and cooperation; it does not create new justice or change Estonian laws or options. To date, cooperation is what has best helped to sustain Estonia and our identity, ensure our national security and increase the economic wellbeing of our people.”