[Ed. – The Flemish Nationalists walked out on Saturday, and reportedly now have a majority demanding a no-confidence vote, in company with Socialists and Greens. The king is said to have authorized the prime minister today to form a minority government until the scheduled election in 2019. Although Belgium — with its peculiar ethnic division — has limped along on that basis before, it’s not clear things in Europe in general will remain stable that long.]
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel scrambled to hold on to power Sunday, as his nation became the latest to face political upheaval caused by the planned adoption this week of a symbolic global pact on migration.
The controversy over the United Nations Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration revealed the degree to which the issue has become politically poisonous in the era of President Donald Trump and rising far-right leaders in Europe. The nonbinding agreement, proposed by European leaders in the aftermath of the 2015 migration crisis in Europe, reaffirms existing commitments to human rights and seeks to broaden international cooperation to avoid future crises. But the United States, Israel, Australia and a lengthening tally of European countries say they will not sign on.
In Belgium, Michel’s decision to commit his country to the pact led the right-wing N-VA Flemish nationalist party to leave the ruling coalition late Saturday. The N-VA, which had held power over migration policy and sought to speed deportations from Belgium, declared that taking part in the pact meant giving up sovereignty over the country’s borders.