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Speech by Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexis Tsipras at the Intergovernmental Conference on the adoption of the Global Compact for Migration in Morocco (Marrakesh, 10 December 2018)
Mr Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In 2016, we adopted the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants. At that time, amidst the refugee and immigration crisis that affected Europe and other regions of the world, we all made the commitment to begin a process of consultations and negotiations which would lead to the adoption of a global compact for safe, organised, and legal immigration.
The moment has now come that we have before us the result of this process, in the form of a framework of political cooperation. This framework, though legally non-binding, lays down our common principles and commitments with regard to immigration, and calls for specific action. In this sense, it is not the end of the journey, but rather its beginning.
Our world is changing rapidly. Inequalities within and among countries are growing just as rapidly. In addition, the challenges that trigger migration flows continue to exist, be they related to an increase in the population, lack of education and job opportunities, extreme poverty and climate change, or the effects of wars and conflicts around the globe. At the same time, information travels with great speed, reaching larger and larger parts of the population on the planet.
These global challenges require global action. In our view, the Compact for Migration represents just that. It arms the international community with a package of agreed upon rules in order to:
-Facilitate our cooperation with regard to all aspects of migration, taking into consideration the reception capacity and the needs of national labour markets
-Facilitate integration of legal migrants
-Ensure the dignified return of individuals who are not entitled to international protection
-Face the deeper causes of irregular migration, and finally
-Combat the migrants illegal trafficking circuits
Acting in this way, we agree to protect the lives of migrants as an absolute priority, to safeguard their human rights, to act in a manner which will take into consideration the gender dimension and can be adjusted to meet the needs of children, and for us to respect the national sovereignty, national competence and the rule of law.
My country has experienced migration on the part of its citizens, and it has also become a transit country for migrants who seek to reach other countries in the European Union. In addition, Greece has been affected by very large and mixed flows of refugees and migrants since 2015. The Greek people, despite the challenges they faced, showed to the rest of the world how we should all embrace people who need solidarity.
Based on this experience, we believe it is necessary to comprehend the priorities, the expectations, and the concerns of the countries of origin, transit, and destination, if we are to take a step forward and provide effective solutions to the challenges we face.
It is our duty to overcome the diverging approaches that arose during the course of the negotiations, admitting that we have an obligation as well as a right to tackle this phenomenon on a national level. At the same time, we must admit that no country is able to effectively manage migration on its own. We require multilateral answers based on international law.
Being aware of this, my country participated in the process which led us here, today, with a genuine interest in helping to find common ground.
We believe that we have now reached a general agreement on the Global Compact for Migration which, through its goals and the proposed actions:
-reflects the aspirations of all UN Member-States in a fair, balanced, and comprehensive manner
-lays down the rights and obligations of both the countries of origin and reception as well as migrants themselves, and
-Acknowledges migration as an anthropocentric process which represents a challenge as well as an opportunity for growth at the same time.
I therefore confirm my country's commitment to the process of building the Global Compact for Migration, as an effective political cooperation framework which does not infringe upon but, on the contrary, is created to support our efforts on a national and regional level, towards a secure and properly managed migration.
To achieve our objectives, we must shape an effective monitoring and evaluation mechanism that will avoid excessive bureaucratic and administrative burdens and bolster cooperation with all the relevant instruments.
Permit me to conclude by expressing my sincere hope that the political commitments we undertake today are transformed into specific works and actions for the benefit of everybody.