Thousands march in Brussels against UN migration pact

A destroyed road sign is pictured outside the EU Commission headquarters after clashes during a protest against Marrakesh Migration Pact, in Brussels, Belgium December 16, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 16 December 2018
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Thousands march in Brussels against UN migration pact

  • The UN pact was agreed in July by all 193 UN members except the United States, but only 164 formally signed it at the meeting last Monday

BRUSSELS: Thousands of people marched in Brussels on Sunday against a UN pact aimed at fostering cooperation on migration, eclipsing a smaller demonstration in support of the deal, the signing of which brought down Belgium’s government last week.
Police said some 5,500 people marched in the bigger protest, organized by Flemish right wing parties in the part of the capital where main European Union institutions are located.
A separate counter-demonstration of around 1,000 people, organized by left-wing groups and non-governmental organizations, took place 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 UN migration compact in Marrakesh.
Michel had secured a large parliamentary majority in favor of maintaining Belgium’s support of the UN 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 UN pact was agreed in July by all 193 UN 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.
With a record 21.3 million refugees globally, the United Nations began work on the pact after more than one million people arrived in Europe in 2015, many fleeing civil war in Syria and poverty in Africa.


Facing populist assault, global elites regroup in Davos

Updated 20 January 2019
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Facing populist assault, global elites regroup in Davos

DAVOS: As the world’s financial and political elites convene here in the Swiss Alps for the World Economic Forum, their vision of ever-closer commercial and political ties is under attack — and the economic outlook is darkening.
Britain’s political system has been thrown into chaos as the country negotiates a messy divorce from the European Union. Under President Donald Trump, the United States is imposing trade sanctions on friend and foe alike, and the government is paralyzed by a partial shutdown that forced Trump and a high-level US delegation to cancel the trip to Davos.
French President Emmanuel Macron is sinking in the polls as he contends with “yellow vest” protesters. Nationalist political movements are gaining strength across Europe.
And experts are downgrading forecasts for global growth this year.