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Belgian PM resigns after UN migrant pact row results in no confidence motion

Belgian PM resigns after UN migrant pact row results in no confidence motion
Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel has announced his immediate resignation after a no-confidence motion against his government was introduced.

Speaking to the parliament, Michel admitted that his call for a “coalition of the willing” to govern until the next election – scheduled for May 2019 – had “not been heard,” adding that he would respect this outcome and resign.

His speech received standing ovation, according to the Belgian media.

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Michel's decision came after the opposition Green and Socialist parties tabled a no-confidence motion against his government. The move was allegedly provoked by the ruling coalition’s failure to agree on some budget proposals.

The Belgian government was already weakened earlier this month, when the center-right New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), which is actually the largest political force in the parliament, quit the ruling coalition citing disagreements with its partners over the controversial UN Migration Pact. Michel had to reshuffle his cabinet and planned to make his government continue its work as a minority one.

The UN-backed pact that has turned out to be a stumbling block for the Belgian government was approved by more than 160 nations in Marrakech, Morocco earlier in December.

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Some nations have openly opposed it, while many others, including Belgium, witnessed widespread protests of their citizens against it. The US, which was the first to openly oppose the pact, said the agreement was “dead even before it's been signed.”

Although the text is not legally binding and is regarded as more of a declaration, the pact is worded in a way that encourages domestic courts and authorities to consider it when making decisions based on interpretations of their laws.

Such provisions have prompted Austria, Hungary, Israel and several other countries to reject the pact. Critics claim that the deal is inadequate for managing global migration flows and might negatively affect their national immigration policies.

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