Enhancing cooperation among the Prague Process states

We are glad to share the new issue of the Prague Process Quarterly Review covering various developments, events, and activities of the second quarter of 2021.

We hope that you will enjoy reading about the most recent Prague Process activities and some key developments in the region.

Since the release of the EU’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum in September 2020, EU Member States have advanced on several key matters. The second quarter of 2021 saw the adoption of the very first EU Strategy on Voluntary Return and Reintegration, the launch of the Talent Partnerships Initiative, and the New Avenues for Legal Labour Migration. In June, just shortly before the handover of the Presidency of the EU Council from Portugal to Slovenia, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) was re-established as the EU Agency for Asylum (EUAA) with a new enhanced mandate.

The European Union Global Diaspora Facility (EUDiF) opened applications for the 2nd round of its technical support mechanisms, the Capacity Development Lab (CDL) and Diaspora Professionals 4 Development (DP4D).

To benefit from these mechanisms, public authorities of partner countries, diaspora organizations in Europe (EU 27, Norway and Switzerland) and regional organizations are invited to submit requests via the EUDiF website by 29 August 2021.

The Prague Process Training Academy is entering a new phase by launching the E-learning Platform.

The platform is meant to serve the Prague Process states and partners with educational material for self-paced independent remote learning on migration and asylum. In times when in-person learning is reduced, e-learning tools become a safe and effective alternative to face-to-face classroom settings offering a convenient way for busy professionals to gain, enrich or refresh knowledge on migration matters.

The Prague Process Webinar ‘Social Capital and Transnational Human Smuggling: What is the impact of Counter-Smuggling Policies?’ with Mr Andrew Fallone, Researcher at the European University Institute, took place on 6 May 2021.

All too often, the words “Human Smuggling” evoke images of handshakes in smoky rooms behind closed doors, overemphasizing the role of organized crime in facilitating irregular migration journeys. This webinar applied a critical perspective to the market for human smuggling, elucidating the role that personal relationships and community knowledge plays in shaping both migrants’ decisions and smuggling service providers’ operating practices. In doing so, this webinar provided policymakers, scholars, and informed observers with a more nuanced understanding of the far-reaching ramifications of counter-smuggling policies.

You may watch the recording in English or in Russian.

The Prague Process Webinar ‘Which Perspectives for Labour Migration Partnerships in the Prague Process region? Lessons from EU funded Pilot Projects on Legal Migration’ with Mr Marco Funk, International Relations Officer, International Strategy Unit of DG HOME, European Commission, Mr Mario Lelovsky, Director of the Digital Coalition Slovakia, and Ms Diana Stefanescu, Project Specialist – Labour Migration, ICMPD, took place on 15 April 2021.

The webinar shed light on the EU’s past and future engagement and planning for labour migration initiatives with partner countries. Speakers presented key lessons learned from EU funded labour mobility initiatives, provided a general overview of the European Commission’s new Talent Partnerships concept announced in the New EU Pact on Migration and Asylum, and outlined the next steps envisaged for their operationalization. The webinar also highlighted plans for the first EU-funded labour mobility pilot project to be implemented in the Eastern Partnership region.

You may watch the recording in English or in Russian.

The Prague Process Repository contains video recordings of all past webinars and policy talks.

The new issue of the Prague Process Quarterly Review covers the first quarter of 2021. 

Since 2013, this tool provides the latest updates about the Process and highlights relevant migration-related developments in the region.

As announced by the Czech Minister of the Interior in March 2021, the coming 1,5 years shall focus on the formulation of the Prague Process’ political mandate for the period 2023-2027. The various changes witnessed across the Prague Process region over the past decade require comprehensive, innovative solutions and continuous dialogue among the participating states. This is equally confirmed by the most recent developments observed in the first quarter of 2021, covered by this issue of the Quarterly Review.

The defining characteristic of the transnational market for human smuggling is the agentive choice by migrants to purchase services in order to facilitate their transportation across state borders. This broad definition includes a large variety of transactions between migrants and actors performing distinct roles, based on the nuances of diverse local dynamics. The new analytical report authored by Andrew Fallone applies a critical lens to the impact of counter-smuggling policies, in order to enable governments to set better-informed policy priorities. It is important that policymakers do not approach regulating human smuggling exclusively through the lenses of criminality, security, and law enforcement. Although human smuggling services are purchased through informal markets that infringe on national laws, these informal markets share many characteristics with other legal economic activities. A narrow focus on the criminal nature of the human smuggling industry would problematically draw policymakers’ attention away from understanding how the laws and regulations that they enact influence the lived experiences of migrants. By expanding this focus, this analytical report aims to provide government actors with a tool for understanding the nuances of the human smuggling market and the full effects of potential counter-smuggling policies.