Enhancing cooperation among the Prague Process states

Since 2013, the Maastricht University | UNU-MERIT is runninig the Migration Management Diploma Programme (MMDP). It is an intensive programme specifically designed for migration government professionals and policy practitioners who are best positioned within their national governance systems to support dialogue between the EU and partner countries. It has a focus on theoretical knowledge, as well as practical skills such as presenting and how to formulate evidence-based policy. Throughout the programme, participants benefit from the helpful input of the core teaching team of UNU-MERIT), visiting migration experts in the field, and guest lecturers from well-known international organisations in different country contexts.

Return and reintegration programs provide travel and post-arrival assistance for migrants returning from a country of temporary residence to a country of origin. These programs are not always commonplace in migration management, with some countries preferring to manage departures and any associated departure assistance under general border security functions. In the last eighteen months, the number of return and reintegration programs has doubled in Prague Process non-EU participating states. High-level responses to migration flows are encouraging neighbouring or like-minded countries to find common ground for cooperation and networking for these programs. Some of these programs have the potential to function as part of a broader regional network. Mapping the existence and functionality of these programs provides a starting point for more specific dialogue and action within the Prague Process and beyond.

Large-scale displacement from Ukraine has led to growing concerns about individuals who were considered vulnerable prior to the outbreak of war, as well as those deemed newly vulnerable due to their displacement. Despite the quick rollout of temporary protection, providing adequate support in light of the scale and characteristics of displacement from Ukraine remains challenging – including in Poland, the major destination country.

The article prepared by Justyna Segeš Frelak and Anna Piłat highlights several important aspects regarding the implementation of the Temporary Protection Directive in Poland. It is also available in Russian language.

Croatia is a country of emigration with a declining and ageing population, however, immigration to the country has been on the rise. Over the past decade, the population of Croatia declined by 230.000 reaching 4.047.700 persons at the end of 2020. The average age of the Croatian population in 2020 was 43.8 yearsAccording to UN projections, the population of the country may further decline to reach 3.3 million persons by 2050 and 2.2 million by 2100.

Finland was a country of emigration until the 1980s and has traditionally not been strongly impacted by large migration flows. Movements were mainly within the Nordic region following the establishment of the Common Nordic Labour Market in 1954 and marked by Finns returning to Sweden in the 1960s and 1970s. In the late 1980s, Finland became a destination for migrants, in particular those born in Russia, the former Soviet Union and Estonia.

The war in Ukraine has been raging for six months. The number of people who have fled the war in Ukraine only to Europe has passed 6.3 million while more than 6.6 million were displaced internally within Ukraine. A considerable number of countries, first and foremost Ukraine’s neighbouring countries, but also other countries, including EU members that have been most affected by the influx of people fleeing the war, have made significant efforts to respond to their arrival.

The Prague Process Senior Officials' Meeting held on 12-13 May 2022 in Vienna represented a perfect occasion to interview several Prague Process states and partners. Recorded ahead of the fourth Prague Process Ministerial Conference that will take place in Prague on 24-25 October 2022, the interviews aimed at gathering  views about the key challenges faced by individual countries and the region as a whole, but also identifying priorities that shall guide cooperation in the future.

Liechtenstein is one of the smallest countries in Europe and in the world. In 2021, the country had a population of 39.315 people, one-third of whom were foreign nationals. In 2020, Swiss, Austrian, German and Italian nationals represented the majority of the resident foreign population of Liechtenstein. Over the past decades, Liechtenstein saw strong economic growth, thereby experiencing a need for a foreign labour force. Over half of 40.328 persons who were employed in Liechtenstein in 2020 were daily commuting to work from neighbouring Switzerland, Austria and Germany. Such a large share of commuters stems from the country’s restrictive policy that does not allow foreigners to live in Liechtenstein, even if employed by a local company.

The Netherlands is the sixth largest economy in Europe. In 2021, the Dutch population grew by 115.979 inhabitants reaching 17.6 million. As of 2015, the population growth stems mainly from immigration. 2.2 million people (14% of the country´s resident population) were born abroad. Of them, 1.6 million people originate from outside Europe with persons born in Turkey, Suriname and Morocco representing the three largest groups (201.000, 178.000 and 173.000 respectively). The Netherlands is also home to a relatively large group of migrants born in Asia (497.000). Additionally, 2 million residents (11,4% of the population) were born in the Netherlands to a migrant parent.