The Prague Process is a targeted migration dialogue and a policy process promoting migration partnerships among the countries of the European Union, Schengen Area, Eastern Partnership, Western Balkans, Central Asia, Russia and Turkey.
The Process originated from the EU financed project “Building Migration Partnerships”, and was initiated during the Czech EU Presidency at the 1st Prague Process Ministerial Conference (back then “Building Migration Partnerships”) with the signature of the Prague Process Joint Declaration in April 2009.
In the Joint Declaration, serving as a common political framework, the participating states agreed to strengthen co-operation in migration management, to explore and develop agreed principles and elements for close migration partnerships between their countries, following a comprehensive, balanced, pragmatic and operational approach, and respecting the rights and human dignity of migrants and their family members, as well as of refugees.
The main principles and cooperation areas, set by the Joint Declaration and by the adopted at the 2nd Ministerial Conference Prague Process Action Plan 2012-2016 include:
- Preventing and fighting illegal migration;
- Readmission, voluntary return and sustainable reintegration;
- Legal migration with a special emphasis on labour migration;
- Integration of legally residing migrants;
- Migration, mobility and development;
- Strengthening capacities in the area of asylum and international protection.
All six cooperation areas to a certain extent mirror objectives of the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM), being the overarching framework of the EU external migration and asylum policy. In the context of the GAMM the Prague Process has been given a priority as a regional dialogue process towards the East. The importance of the Prague Process and its results were also recognised by the European Commission in its Communication on the GAMM of 18 November 2011, and confirmed by the Council of the European Union in its Conclusions of 29 May 2012.
In 2015 was carried out an evaluation of the Prague Process Action Plan implementation in the period 2012 -2014, and the Evaluation report was endorsed by the SOM members at the Senior Officials’ meeting held in Prague in December 2015. The report concludes that the Prague Process has significantly contributed to enhancing international cooperation on migration in the region. The participating states find the six Cooperation Areas set out in the Action Plan as coherent with their national migration policies and complementary to other existing international forums, while the Prague Process activities gave an important stimulus for modifications in the migration management systems.
The current stage of the Prague Process is shaped by the Bratislava Ministerial Declaration, endorsed at the 3rd Prague Process Ministerial Conference in Bratislava in September 2016.
The European Commission financially supports the implementation of the Action Plan through the Mobility Partnership Facility, and its Strand C "Prague Process: Dialoague, Analyses and Training in Action".