Large protest in Brussels against UN Migration Pact
More than 5,000 protesters demonstrated in Brussels Sunday, protesting the signing of the U.N. Migration Pact. The protest by mostly nationalist parties dwarfed a pro-treaty demonstration in the city center.
Belgian right-wing N-VA, which is the biggest party in parliament, pulled its ministers from the ruling coalition last week after Prime Minister Charles Michel refused its demand that he not sign the U.N. migration compact in Marrakesh.
Michel had secured a large parliamentary majority in favor of maintaining Belgium's support of the U.N. text, with support from the opposition socialists and greens. Critics said the N-VA's move was the opening shot in a campaign before federal elections in May.
The U.N. pact was agreed in July by all 193 U.N. members except the United States, but only 164 formally signed it at the meeting last Monday.
It has run into criticism from European politicians who say it could increase immigration to Europe as the bloc has turned increasingly restrictive on accepting refugees and migrants alike since a 2015 spike in arrivals.
Ten countries, mostly in formerly Communist Eastern Europe, have pulled out of the non-binding pact.
For the first time, the refugee issue has brought down a government. Could this be the tip of the iceberg?
If the E.U. continues to welcome agreements like the one signed in Marrakesh, the fall of Michel's government may not be the last. The astonishing disconnect between left-wing European elites and ordinary people has never been more in evidence. In effect, the elites are flipping off the concerns of ordinary people, telling them to go hang.
No one bothered to ask the German people if they supported allowing a million foreigners into their countries. The same goes for the millions of other refugees in Italy, Greece, and other E.U. countries who have created a political upheaval never before seen in the E.U. I'm sure some citizens in Europe reject the migrants on racial, religious, or cultural grounds. But the majority of those joining nationalist and right-wing parties are afraid of losing their national identity. It has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with tradition and history.
The U.N. Migration Pact is non-binding. But it's significant that so many countries directly impacted by the refugee flood refused to sign it. The mainstream political parties across Europe are waking up to this anti-migrant sentiment and are trying to placate the voters while maintaining a nearly "open door" policy. It won't work. Nationalist and right-wing parties will continue to grow and gain strength as dithering politicians and bureaucrats try to come to terms with the nationalist forces they've unleashed.