Enhancing cooperation among the Prague Process states

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From 23 – 25 October the ERIS project conducted its Introductory Mission to the Russian Federation. The purpose of the mission was to have a first detailed discussion on the partners´ various approaches in the area of integration policies and to agree on the concrete priorities for the further project activities.

During the mission, integration experts from the Austrian and Czech Ministries of Interior together with ICMPD met representatives of the Russian Federal Migration Service to discuss the priorities for the further project implementation. As a result, the ERIS partners agreed on an extensive list of priorities and concrete topics of interest for the Russian, Austrian and Czech integration authorities. The subsequent project activities will be adjusted accordingly in order to meet the specific needs, interests and expectations of the partners.

One of the activities, discussed during the mission, was ERIS first Knowledge Exchange Workshop that is to take place in January - February 2014 in Vienna. The three main topics to be covered by the workshop are the issues of running integration centers, language courses and testing, and pre-departure integration measures.

In addition to thematic priorities, partners also discussed possibility to reflect broader variety of national integration practices. As representatives of ERIS partners pointed out, all three countries face similar challenges when it comes to integration; at the same time, responses may differ due to differences in particular immigration histories, seizes and structures of migrant populations in these countries. For this reason partners will exchange detailed knowledge about their national systems. Moreover, in order to maximize learning potential of ERIS, partners will consider inviting experts also from other countries, and thus add to the knowledge and experience of Austria, Czech Republic and Russian Federation.

Besides the meetings with the Federal Migration Service, the Austrian and Czech experts together with ICMPD had opportunity to meet with local NGOs, research and international organizations or representatives of EU Delegation to the Russian Federation. In the course of the meetings, the ERIS partners introduced the project to representatives of the above mentioned and had the opportunity to learn about other migration-related activities in Russia.