Enhancing cooperation among the Prague Process states

The Research Coordination Meeting held on 28-29 June in Vienna brought nine experts from non-EU participating states of the Prague Process together with the members of the Prague Process Secretariat. The meeting provided a first opportunity to introduce the Migration Observatory (MO) concept to the experts present and get their feedback on this initiative. Secondly, the selected experts were invited to present their intended research as per their previous agreement with the Secretariat while also providing feedback on the research outlines of their peers.

On 5-7 June, the “Advanced Training for High-Quality Asylum Procedures” gathered over 40 state representatives working in the asylum field in Rome. The three trainers – Anna Bengtsson (Swedish Migration Agency), Judith Gleeson (Upper Tribunal Judge, Immigration and Asylum Chambers, United Kingdom) and Gabor Gyulai (Hungarian Helsinki Committee) - had previously engaged in the asylum trainings organised within the Prague Process. They also majorly contributed to the development of the Guidelines “Quality in Asylum Decision-Making - Using Jurisprudence and Multidisciplinary Knowledge for Training Purposes”, which served as a basis for this training.

The Prague Process Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) took place in Warsaw on 12 December 2017, gathering 33 participants from 21 states, as well as ICMPD, IOM and UNHCR. Several registered participants, including representatives from Albania, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, ICMPD and the European Commission could not attend the meeting due to cancelled flights. In spite of the unforeseen absence of several speakers, most of the original agenda could be maintained thanks to securing some interventions per Skype and others shared beforehand in written in order to be delivered by the Prague Process Secretariat. 

After the 59 months of implementation, which is almost five years, the EU-funded project “Support to the Implementation of the Prague Process Action Plan 2012 – 2016”, known rather as the “Prague Process Targeted Initiative” or just “PP TI” was closed during the Closing Ceremony organised by the leading state of the project – Poland – at the Polish Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels on 13 June 2017.  The Ceremony was organised with the purpose to present the numerous achievements and results of the project to diplomatic representations of the 50 countries involved in the Prague Process (all EU MS, Schengen Area, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Western Balkans, Russia and Turkey), to EU institutions as well as international organisations present in Brussels.

The 3-day Training Workshop gathered 33 participants from 22 Prague Process states as well as EASO, UNHCR, ICMPD and the Prague Process Secretariat. The thematic focus on irregular migration resulted from the priorities previously indicated by the Prague Process participating states. The agenda was based on the results achieved under the Pilot Projects implemented in 2012 – 2016. As set out in the Bratislava Ministerial Declaration of 2016, these results shall be further mobilised within the envisaged Training Academy.

The PP TI Study Visit took place on 10-12 April 2017, gathering representatives of 18 participating states in Vienna. During the introductory session at ICMPD, participants expressed their satisfaction with the opportunity to visit and get to know the national policies and practices of Austria - an important destination and transit country with regards to both the Balkan and Mediterranean migration routes.

The new issue of the Prague Process Quarterly Review, that covers the period July - December 2016, gives an overview of several Senior Officials' Meetings that framed the key event of 2016 - the 3rd Prague Process Ministerial Conference, presents reflections from the Expert missions to the Central Asian Republics of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and the Closing Workshop of Objective 2, provides an outline of the Handbook on Identification of Irregular Migrants, and, finally, presents the last decade's achievements of the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan celebrating its 10th anniversary.  The new issue of the Quarterly Review is available for download in English and in Russian. To see all issues please go to the section "Quarterly Review" under News & Events.

The Prague Process Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM), constituting the final SOM within the implementation of the Prague Process Targeted Initiative (PP TI), took place in Vilnius on 24-25 November 2016, gathering 46 participants from 25 states, the European Commission Directorate General for Home Affairs (DG Home), as well as ICMPD and UNHCR. This SOM marked the opening to the future cooperation as requested by the Bratislava Ministerial Declaration, endorsed by the 3rd Prague Process Ministerial Conference, which Slovakia hosted on 19-20 September 2016, and aimed at proposing a future vision and concrete work plan for this period while also endorsing all results achieved so far.

On 25 October 2016, a Closing Workshop of the Prague Process Objective 2 - Knowledge Base on migration took place in Prague, Czech Republic. A 1-day Workshop gathered representatives of 16 participating states, EUROMED Migration IV, UNHCR, and ICMPD in its capacity of the Prague Process Secretariat. The meeting was dedicated to the discussion of the current state of the Prague Process Knowledge base on migration as well as its future in a new format, namely the Training and Analytical Centre (TAC) composed of a Migration Observatory and a Training Academy.